- Get into a rear foot elevated split squat position. Close to 100% of your weight should be on your front leg. While keeping a level pelvis, squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward a few inches as this will load the front (working) leg. Many people make the mistake of positioning their hips too far back as they ''do not want to let their knee travel close to or in front of their toes.'' This unfortunate myth is preventing an abundance of people from reaping the most benefits out of both squatting and lunging exercises.
- Loop a band under the middle part of your foot on the working side, and rest the band on your upper traps. The band should be sitting on your upper traps, not on your neck.
- Set your foot so it's in a tripod position. Your weight should be on the mid/back of your foot, and your toes should be in contact with the floor, particularly your big and baby toe. I like to pretend that I am suctioning my foot to the floor. Maintain this tripod foot position for the duration of the exercise.
- Have a slight forward lean in your torso. Your spine should remain in neutral(ish) alignment for the duration of the exercise. I used the word ''neutralish'' as there is no single definition of neutral. It varies from person to person. I like to use the canister analogy.
- Before you go, take a deep breath in through your nose (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core, and actively tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection). This will stabilize your pelvis and spine and will allow you to focus on your lower body.
- Now perform a split squat and take 3 seconds to lower down, stand 1/2 of the way up, lower back down, and stand back up. This is one rep.
- Your front leg should be doing as close the 100% of the work as possible. Make sure that you engage your quad, hamstring, and glute of the front leg and push up, versus pushing backwards and transferring the weight to your back leg. Your body should travel in a vertical path the entire time, not horizontally. I like to pretend that I have a wall (or something worse:)) directly in front of me and behind me, and if I fall forward or push backwards, my body will hit the wall.
- As you are pushing up and are completing the rep, exhale. If you find that you can't hold your breath for this long, you can exhale and quickly inhale during the ascending 1/2 portion of the rep, but I find it much more effective to hold my breath and exhale at the end of the rep as this provides much more stability.
- Never allow your muscles to disengage at any point. Eccentric does not mean that you get to relax and shut off your muscles. Maintain control at ALL times. The same goes with the lockout. Locking out does not mean rest. Your muscles must be ''on'' in order to stabilize your joints. Otherwise they will be in an extremely vulnerable position.
- When you lock out at the top, squeeze your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The band makes initial part of the descent and the lockout significantly more challenging. Be mindful of not allowing your rib cage to flare or lower back to hyperextend during the lockout, and for the duration of the exercise. This is a mistake that is made by many.
- Do not allow your knee to cave in or fall out. It should remain in line with your toes.
- Reset before each rep.
- Maintain tension in the band at all times.
Trust me, this exercise is tough enough with just a band so don't jump the gun. Master the technique and develop the requisite levels of strength, stability, and controlled mobility before you add additional resistance. I used a medium/high tension band and held onto 2 x 35 lb kettlebells, and performed 3 sets x 5 reps/leg. This was more than enough resistance and volume.
You can make this exercise easier by starting out with just bodyweight.
You can make this exercise more challenging by using a higher tension band. Lastly, you can add additional resistance in the form of a kettlebell(s), dumbbell(s), or barbell.