Single leg movements are never the first choice of athletes. The common trend is to pick a bilateral movement, stack the plates on one by one only to watch quality and quantity diminish. The benefits of single leg training are widespread among all sports, genders, and training ages. The ability to stabilize, reduce and produce forces off of one leg is the foundation of all human movement. The 2KB Anterior Split Squat requires all these but also demands:
o Upper body postural control
o Core stability
o Flexion and extension of the knee and hip
o Ankle mobility
After positioning two kettlebells in an anterior front rack position, place the trail foot behind the body with knee directly under the hip. The two main points of contact will be the front heel/midfoot and the midfoot/toe of the trail leg.
In order to keep the kettlebells in an upright position, the shoulders must be retracted back and down while simultaneously setting the ribcage down and pulling the elbows close to the body.
Once stabilized in the setup position, the ribcage is braced down while initiating the decent through the hip and the knee of the front leg.
This will allow the trail knee to lightly find the ground while maintaining an upright torso position.
After a brief pause, return to the starting position driving through the front heel/midfoot while keeping the knee in line with the second toe.
Upper Body- A rounded upper back is a common fault especially when loads get excessive. Include additional upper back/ posterior shoulder strengthening to improve this position.
Core- Deviation of the hips from a neutral position will be seen in athletes without the ability to stabilize in the sagittal, transverse and frontal planes. Be sure to include multiple planes of movement in training the core while also looking for asymmetrical muscular tension at the hip.
Knee- Knee valgus is the most common fault on both the eccentric and concentric portion of this movement. Include additional work for the glute medius to promote awareness and function of keeping the knee in line with the second toe.
Ankle- Lack of ankle dorsiflexion can drastically change the position and function of every major joint above it. Assessing and prioritizing this joint could potentially free up many faults at the knee and hip.
The 2KB Anterior Split Squat should be in the toolbox of most athletes regardless of sport. The ability to stabilize, reduce and produce force on one leg will lead to improved performance and reduced risk of injury. Be sure to always keep progression and regression in mind while loading appropriately for quality movement.