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The Biomechanics of a Split Squat to Lunge

Are you looking to supercharge your lower body workout routine? Well, look no further! The split squat to lunge is a plyometric exercise that simultaneously targets various muscle groups. This exercise leaves no muscle in the lower body unengaged. In this article, we'll break down the split squat to lunge, offer expert tips on execution, and explore how to tailor it to your fitness level. So, let's dive into the world of muscle-boosting, balance-enhancing split squats and lunges.

Benefits of the Split Squat to Lunge

The split squat to lunge has numerous benefits:

  • Increased Lower Body Strength: The Split Squat to Lunge builds strength in the lower body, which helps function effectively in daily life and athletic pursuits. Additionally, stronger muscles help to support the knees better.

  • Improved endurance: Due to the explosive nature of split jump squats, they provide a cardiovascular emphasis, helping to improve endurance and overall fitness.

  • Some other benefits include improved muscular coordination, power, strength, vertical jump height, and stability. Finally, the unilateral focus helps improve muscle activation, muscle imbalances, and stability.

Muscles Involved

The muscles targeted in the split squat to lunge are the quads, glutes, gastrocnemius, hamstrings, hip flexors, spinae erectors, adductor magnus, and soleus. The reverse lunge mainly targets the quads. However, the gluteus maximus, adductors, and soleus also assist with the work. Your calves are also targeted during the reverse lunge and jump from landing on your toes. During the lunge, your core and gluteus medius muscles stabilize your body to help maintain your balance. The squat portion of the movement primarily targets many leg muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, calves, gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius.

When performed correctly, the Split Squat to Lunge targets various muscle groups at the same time while increasing strength, balance, and explosiveness.

Execution of the Split Squat to Lunge

Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart to do the split squat to lunge. Lower into a squat position so the quads are parallel to the ground. Be sure not to round forward and keep your heels down. Then jump up and switch into a lunge stance as you land. One foot will be forward, and the other will lunge as you drop your back knee toward the ground. Lower into the lunge until the front leg is at 90 degrees, and keep your chest up. In the lunge, your front heel should be down, and your weight should be in the heel in the lead leg. Jump back into the squat and back to the lunge, with the opposite leg leading. Repeat and switch from right to left leg in the lunge, always returning to a squat after each lunge. Move as quickly as you can with good form.


There are different ways that you can make this exercise easier or harder. If you cannot execute the split squat to lunge, remove the jump. Use the following movement pattern to perform the modification: squat, reverse lunge (left leg), squat, reverse lunge (right leg).

Additionally, if the client cannot coordinate the movement but is not fatigued, doing a squat jump is a good alternative that offers the same plyometric benefit.

To make this exercise more challenging, wear a weighted vest, hold dumbbells, or use a barbell and take out the jump. The Split Squat to Lunge is a versatile exercise that personal trainers can incorporate into beginner or advanced workouts.

Common Mistakes

Ensuring proper form when executing any exercise will ensure you get the most out of the movement. Here are some common mistakes when performing the reverse lunge include:

  • Lunging too close: Having your back leg too close to your body in a lunge will cause your front knee to travel over the toes, placing unnecessary stress on the knee and ankle joint.

  • Lunging too far away: Having the back leg too far away from your body will make it more challenging to keep your balance. The appropriate stance is keeping your front shin vertical with your knee directly over the ankle as you sink into the lunge.

  • Rounding the low back. This mistake leads to instability, poor posture, low back pain, and inefficient movement. To avoid this, keep the chest lifted, the shoulder blades back and down, and the core engaged while maintaining a neutral pelvis to ensure the spine is stacked, and there is no unnatural rounding or arching.

  • Raising the butt first in the squat: Initiating the concentric phase of the squat by raising the butt decreases the work of the quadriceps in the exercise. Additionally, due to the explosive nature of the movement, this can lead to injury.

  • Knee Valgus (inward collapse of the knee): If the knees cave inward during a squat, the risk of knee injury increases.

  • Shallow Squat Depth: While squatting as low as possible with proper form is essential, we often trade depth for speed in plyometric movement. While speed is critical for some, movement quality is also crucial to gain the most from the exercise.

Incorporating the split squat to lunge into your fitness regimen is a surefire way to take your lower body workout to the next level. As we've discussed, it's a powerhouse exercise that targets various muscle groups simultaneously, helping you build strength, endurance, and stability. Beyond the physical benefits, it also aids in improving your muscular coordination, power, and vertical jump height. Plus, its unilateral focus helps combat muscle imbalances and promotes greater stability. However, success lies in proper execution. Avoid the common mistakes, and you'll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.


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