When it comes to lower-body lifts, the Split Squat is one of the most effective and scalable options for athletes of all levels.
The massive importance of single-leg loading is no secret, so adding Split Squat variations to a program is a great way to fill that void in a knee-back-ankle-friendly way.
The problem? There’s a really common mistake nearly everyone is making with this exercise, and they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Most people allow gravity to do the work for them on the eccentric phase of the lift. In other words, the lifter will just drop down to the bottom position with really no control or muscular involvement.
For a brief moment, you’re just falling with really no control of your speed or direction. Then, when you reach a point where you need some control, you suddenly decide to arrest that fall and try to get back into a good position.
When you don’t really pay any attention to how you’re executing the eccentric portion of the lift, the result is often an uncontrollable and slightly dangerous movement.
Instead of just dropping the knee to the floor, athletes should actively pull themselves down in the eccentric phase. You have to use your mind-muscle-connection to tap into your hamstrings and glutes (particularly in your front leg) as you pull yourself down into the range of motion you want to achieve.
This execution not only gives you a safer Split Squat in terms of muscle activation and motor control, but it also helps carry over training effects into athletic movements. Even if it means dropping the weight by 5-10 pounds, implementing this little tip can help your results explode over time.