Exercises With A Big Return: Split-Squat
Many of us spend a lot of our time sitting… at a desk, a table, our couch, our bed, wherever. We are sitting and working on computers and cell phones most of the time.
This causes our bodies, especially our hips, to become tight, causing a host of issues including low back pain, plantar fasciitis, and varicose veins. When we stay in a position for long periods of time, our body will adapt to it. That’s what it was designed to do! But that is not ideal, especially because we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives sitting at a computer. We need to be able to walk our dogs, go grocery shopping, play with our kids, etc and not have pain while doing so.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles made up of the psoas, iliacus, rectus femoris, and quadratus lumborum. These muscles connect the top half of your body to the bottom, making them very important! When we spend a lot of time sitting, they get stuck in a shortened position and cannot stretch and move the way they need to, causing you to have a hard time activating your glutes & hamstrings. Everything is connected. So what do you do to fix this?
You might initially go to stretching as a solution, but stretching alone won’t help you. When you stretch your muscle, it may relieve tension for a short time, but it will return. Your muscles will still be weak so they won’t be able to hold the new position.
“The split-squat specifically builds all-over strength in your body. It can help you become more coordinated and balanced and improve your joints and knee strength. “
Enter the split squat. This exercise is one of our favorites for stretching and strengthening the hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings, making it an exercise that gets you a big return. Because you are working each leg unilaterally, you’re able to connect with your muscles and build balanced strength between both sides of your body.
The split-squat specifically builds all-over strength in your body. It can help you become more coordinated and balanced and improve your joints and knee strength.
Ok, so how do you do this exercise? First, you want to set up by taking one big step forward; your back heel will be elevated. This exercise is similar to a lunge, but instead of lowering down, you want to ascend forward so your front knee goes over your toes and your hamstring covers your calf. If you’re really tight, you may not have the ability to go all the way down. That’s ok. If you keep doing this exercise, we promise you’ll get there. If it’s too difficult in the beginning, elevate your front foot. If it’s too easy, elevate your back foot. This can be loaded by using a pulley, dumbbells, or a barbell on the back or front rack position.
So there you have it. Fix your hips. Get rid of low back pain. Build strength in your glutes and hamstrings. If you try this at home, let us know how it goes!