Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

Split-Squat and KB Split-Squat

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Split-Squat and KB Split-Squat

By James Clifford, RSCC – Seattle Mariners

In an attempt to better serve the coaches, players and parents involved in youth and high school baseball, the PBSCCS periodically publishes information on factors that can affect conditioning and performance at these levels. Topics are selected from questions submitted by participants, coaches and parents in youth and high school sports. The question for this posting was from an 11U baseball coach who said – “I understand that squats are a good exercise for lower body strength, but my players don’t have the equipment nor do they know how to squat with proper technique. Can you recommend an exercise for the lower body that will require little equipment or instruction?” For a response, PBSSCS contacted James Clifford, Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Seattle Mariners.

The split squat is a good level I or beginner exercise that requires little supervision and can be performed with little or no equipment. It works the entire body and helps develop shoulder, core, hip, knee and ankle stability and improve overall balance. It builds strength in the glutes, helps stabilize and protect the low back and helps strengthen the hamstrings.

How to do it. Start with body weight and then gradually progress to holding a kettlebell (KB) or Dumbbell (DB) in one hand as technique and strength improve

  1. Split Squat with no weight. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and both feet pointing straight ahead
  • Set the core and keeping the head and chest up, take a step forward with your left leg
  • Step far enough out that your front knee does not go past your toes
  • If your balance is off, hold onto a chair, wall, etc. until your balance improves
  • Slowly bend your back knee until it almost touches the ground
  • Go straight down to the ground, don’t move the front knee forward
  • Push through the heel of the left (front) foot and return to the starting position
  • Perform the prescribed number of reps and switch legs
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps each leg and gradually increase volume (reps) as technique and strength improve
  • Make sure to keep the head up, upper body straight and shoulders down and back throughout the exercise
  1. KB Split Squat
  •  When you have solid balance and are comfortable with body weight split-squats, add resistance for additional strength and stability
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, both feet pointing straight ahead and holding a KB in the right hand
  • Set the core and keeping the head and chest up, take a step forward with your left leg
  • Step far enough out that your front knee does not go past your toes
  • Slowly bend your back knee (left) until it almost touches the ground
  • Go straight down to the ground, don’t move the front knee forward
  • Push through the heel of left (front) foot and return to the starting position
  • Perform the prescribed number of reps and switch legs
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg and gradually increase volume (reps) or resistance as technique and strength improve
  • Don’t increase volume (reps) and intensity (weight) at the same time
  • Make sure to keep the upper body straight and shoulders down and back throughout the exercise

Other options: 

  1. Goblet split-squat – http://baseballstrength.org/goblet-split-squat-by-jose-salas-cscs-philadelphia-phillies/
  2. Rear foot elevated split-squat – http://baseballstrength.org/rear-foot-elevated-split-squat-rfe-split-squat/

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James Clifford, RSCC is the Seattle Mariners’ Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach.

 

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