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Split Squatting the Right Way: Respecting the Assessment | Boddicker Performance

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Split Squatting the Right Way: Respecting the Assessment

by on Jun 3rd, 2010

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I got an e-mail from a friend of mine today asking about a discussion he and one of his colleagues had this week concerning coaching the split squat.  The athlete in question seemed to have an issue with proper hip extension and there was debate as to whether or not he was “hanging” on his hip flexor.  Now this particular company uses the FMS liberally, but like many, it seems that there may be a disconnect between the application of the FMS results to the program design.

Remember, the FMS is in place to guide your program design start to finish.  The FMS is rife with intentional redundancy to serve as a safety check, and if the athlete is unable to separate his hips well, a minimum of three screens will help detect that:  the ASLR, HS, and ILL.  Thus, if an athlete truly has a limitation in hip extension/hip separation, should we really be allowing the athlete to engage in activities that require a minimum of extension without first establishing the appropriate mobility to support the movement?  It’s probably not the best idea.

Additionally, I buy the idea that some athletes try to weight shift so far anteriorly believing that you should be having 80 or 90% of your weight on the front leg or they fire up the hip flexors to use a HTS stability mechanism.  It is possible that there is a lack of mobility as well.  Generally, I do not see it as being a problem if the innominate is not rolling anteriorly and is creating a hyperlordotic curve while split squatting (and something that has a number of facets involved that Charlie Weingroff will talk about at length on the latest Sports Rehab Expert Podcast).  This is one of the things that you’ll see frequently that should be altered.  In the past I’ve had good success with using the simple cue “drop yourself straight down” or “keep a straight line from knee to ear” for those with poor stabilization patterns and they also benefit well from taking part in some stability work with vectors in medial and lateral directions and the hips separated.

If we are to split squat well, we naturally need good range of motion, authentic stability, and a motor program in place.  You should be using your screening to identify the presence of these qualities and design your program based on your objective findings.   There is no point in screening athletes if you are not using the data to better individualize programming.


Carson Boddicker

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Leave a Comment »4 Comments
  • Patrick Ward June 3, 2010

    Great stuff, Carson.

    Along with the cue of “drop yourself straight down” , which I use also, I sometimes will have the individual start down in a half kneeling position on an airex pad, in proper position, and try and drive up from there. Sometimes that helps them get the feel for it.


  • Carson Boddicker June 3, 2010

    Never tried that idea in a split position. I like it. I’ll give that a go if I ever have an issue.

  • Pete Brown June 3, 2010

    Great stuff! I have utilized Patrick’s idea and it works quite well, I also at times will set up a bar low on the squat cage and place them in front of it so that when and if there is too much forward weight shift they run into a block.

    Also as far as the FMS what are your thoughts on adding the rotary stability test as another that looks at hip extension, I have heard Gray mention ASLR, Hurdle Step, and ILL as the three main screens looking at hip extension but was thinking that rotary will give some clues to add as well. Pretty cool how the screen fits together.

    Great stuff Carson and thanks for your work with the SRE podcast!

  • Carson Boddicker June 3, 2010


    Absolutely, RS is very much dependent on adequate function of hip flexors and appropriate ranges of motion. In the same vein, you can look at all of them as challenges of genuine stability from the “inner unit” or “soft core” in which some include the psoas as it is facially continuous with the diaphragm and pelvic floor as well as TrA. The TSPU is another that is a good marker. It really does fit well together.

    Thanks for the comment!


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