Fitness

How to feel your glutes in a split squat

Knees over toes in a lunge
Do you experience low back pain in a split squat or lunges?
I often find one of the biggest culprits for lower back pain is the set up. For years I was told not to allow my knees to travel over my toes, but I’m here to tell you – it can be done! Allowing my knees to travel past my toes has completely changed the movement, and allowed my body to learn how to sense the ground and feel my glutes for the first time.
Ready to experience the movement in your body? Let’s play!
1. The set up: Set up your stance a bit narrower than you think. Most of us do not have full hip extension. When we set up too wide we often arch through the low back and dump forward in an anterior pelvic tilt. By setting up a bit narrower we will be able to fully tap into the glute and hamstring of the front leg.
2. Find your stack: I’ve talked a lot before about finding a neutral spine and training in a stacked body position. I like to initiate at the top of the rep with an inhale/exhale to feel the ribs come back in space (avoid the rib flare), then inhale to descend down.
3. Sense your mid-foot: Imagine superglueing your foot to the ground and dragging your front heel back in space.
4. Knees over toes: As you descend down, allow your front knee to travel forward over your toes. Notice the shin angle and how that shifts as you move forward.
5. Reach and hold this position (added challenge): Stay heel heavy, sense your mid-foot, stay in your stacked position, and allow your knee to travel forward. What do you feel?
If you have a typical asymmetrical pattern, you can also experiment with a hip shift on the left side. When on the right side, keep it neutral.
You will feel your quads working of course, but the goal is to really feel the front proximal hamstring (area closes to your lower glute) and your glutes working in the front leg. A split squat is very versatile and has become one of my favorite lower body exercises.
Check out the video below for a visual and longer demonstration.

 

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