Squat variations come by the dozens. A signature of these being the rear foot elevated split squat. When incorporating this move, just like with any exercise, we need to stay conscious of proper form, exercise purpose, and personal functionality. So let’s dissect this one together, starting with basic form. The stance is rather simple as we place a rear foot behind us up onto a bench. Our alignment will stay nice and tall through the whole movement. Sit back through the hip as the planted leg bends into engaging those squat muscles and the elevated knee almost reaches the floor. Push back up on the planted leg and lock out at the top to finish out each repetition.
Now, let’s dive into questions that may pop up. For example, some of us are thinking how to position additional weight: using a goblet position versus hanging dumbbells down at the sides. And forget the weight, what about our foot up there? Do we stay stubborn and keep it elevated, or regress the exercise by planting the rear foot on the floor? To start addressing these questions, let’s go back and reference the basic proper form we first discussed. We really want to take into account what happens to the trunk when the rear foot is placed on the bench behind us. Your trunk could start to give way forward, which throws your alignment off. It may want to do this for several reasons. Some restrictions in the hip will make your body want to pull open. There may also be a bit of dysfunction at the anterior portion of your trunk, in the area of your upper abs. After taking a look at what our body wants to do, we can start to consider what we are safely able to make it do.
We have two routes to choose from. The first is to hammer down and keep the trunk really well positioned. The rib cage should be engaged and connected to the hip in order to maintain a strong position in the trunk while going through the full range of movement. But some of us just do not have the functionality in those key muscles to keep that proper form throughout the exercise. If this is the case, we should choose the second option, which is to regress the exercise. The elevated foot will come down to the floor, keeping a normal split squat stance. Before you hang your head thinking you are not able to do this move, let’s shake the negative connotation of “regression” and keep our heads up. Regressions are not a bad thing. You are just being a boss and getting done what you came here to do. By staying conscious of what is appropriate for us individually, we are aware that omission is actually more important than the exercises that we do include.