"Ask the Coach" is the column in which Wolfgang Unsöld answers your questions. The book of the same name is available right here on Amazon.
Question: On the Internet you often see the split squat variant in which the back foot is elevated. On the website I have now also seen the variant where the front foot is raised. What are the differences between the two variants and which one is better? Thomas B
WU: There are big differences between the two variants. I dealt with the topic of split squats and its position in the design program in this article – “Deconstructing Split Squats – one of the most misunderstood exercises in today’s training world” . There are basically three variations of the foot position in split squats. Front foot raised. Both feet flat on the floor. Rear foot raised. Each of these variants of the split squat offers advantages and therefore has its place in the design program. In module 2 of the YPSI Trainer B license I go into detail about this. You can also get a good overview of the two variants you mentioned – front foot raised or rear foot raised – in the cover photo of this post above. The first thing you will definitely notice is the difference in the range. Due to the elevation of the rear leg and the hip mechanism, the range of motion is lower in the variant with the rear foot raised. This alters recruitment as well as stretch on the muscles involved. It is also important that the back foot is supported by the ball of the foot and not the instep and that it is no more than 15 cm off the ground. This increases the stability, the depth of the knee flexion and thus the recruitment of the muscles involved, in particular the vastus medialis, the teardrop-shaped muscle on the front inside of the thigh, which is one of the two crucial stabilizers of the knee.
Good luck with choosing the split squat variant!
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Image: YPSI Coach Wolfgang Hattingen demonstrates the two split squat variants in comparison.