Are you in Canada? Click here to proceed to the HK Canada website.

For all other locations, click here to continue to the HK US website.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase an eBook, online video, or online courses please press continue


Booktopia Logo

Purchase Print Products

Human Kinetics print books are now distributed by Booktopia Publisher Services throughout Australia/NZ, delivered to you from their NSW warehouse. Please visit Booktopia to order your Human Kinetics print books.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Courses or Access Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase online videos, online courses or to access previously purchased digital products please press continue.


Mare Nostrum Logo

Purchase Print Products or eBooks

Human Kinetics print books and eBooks are now distributed by Mare Nostrum, throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Middle East, delivered to you from their warehouse. Please visit our new UK website to purchase Human Kinetics printed or eBooks.

Feedback IconFeedback

This squat variation is a must for hockey players

This is an excerpt from Complete Conditioning for Hockey by Ryan van Asten.

Split Squat

Difficulty
Beginner

Equipment
None (bodyweight only) or dumbbells or barbell, squat rack for barbell loading, single-leg squat stand or bench and pad for rear foot–elevated split squat

Purpose
The split squat, a single-leg squat variation, is essential for strength development in a sport in which a large portion of the game is spent on one leg.

Starting Position
Assume a split stance position with the back of your front foot approximately 3 feet (1 m) away from the front of your back foot, but maintain a stance approximately shoulder-width apart. If you are loading with dumbbells, hold them at your sides. If you are loading with a barbell, set the bar up in a squat rack at the appropriate height. Stand close to the bar with feet shoulder-width apart, and place your hands on the bar at an equal distance from the center, just outside of shoulder width. Set your body under the bar, and pull your shoulder blades together, creating a ledge on your upper back for the barbell. Lift the bar from the rack, and assume the split position. Brace your core to prevent movement of the spine throughout the movement.

Movement
Lower your back knee to the ground. Be sure not to hit your knee off the ground. Maintain an athletic position at the bottom with a positive shin angle (figure 5.30), with most of the load received by the front leg. Finish the movement by returning to the starting position. Repeat this sequence on the opposite leg.

Figure 5.30 Split squat.
Figure 5.30 Split squat.

Common Errors
A common issue is when the front knee collapses to the middle (valgus). Be sure to drive the front knee laterally.

Another common error is when the torso flexes forward. Be sure to maintain proper core engagement and, if necessary, decrease the external load.

Progressions and Variations

Reverse Lunge to Hip Lock
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Elevate the moving leg into the hip locked position (flexed hip above 90 degrees of flexion). Step back approximately 3 feet (1 m) with the moving leg. Lower your back knee to the ground; be sure not to hit your knee on the ground. Like the split squat, assume an athletic position at the bottom with a positive shin angle, with most of the load received by the front leg. Reverse the movement, bringing the swing leg up to the hip locked position (figure 5.31). Elongate at the top position by engaging the stance leg’s glute muscles and core musculature. Once all repetitions are completed, switch legs.

Figure 5.31 Reverse lunge to hip lock.
Figure 5.31 Reverse lunge to hip lock.

Rear Foot–Elevated Split Squat
Assume the split stance position similar to the split squat; however, your back foot will be elevated. Lower your back knee to a pad (figure 5.32). Finish the movement by returning to the starting position. Once all repetitions are completed, switch legs.

Figure 5.32 Rear foot–elevated split squat.
Figure 5.32 Rear foot–elevated split squat.

Skater Squat to Hip Lock
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in front of a pad. Elevate the moving leg into the hip locked position (flexed hip above 90 degrees of flexion). Like the bilateral squat, begin by pushing your hips back and knee forward to start descending to the lowered position while maintaining a stable spine. Swing the moving leg back and, while keeping a bent knee, touch your knee to the pad. Simultaneously, move your hands forward, bending at the elbows to provide a counterbalanced load (figure 5.33). While pushing your knee out, stand up out of the bottom position in the same manner you entered, and finish in the starting position. Once all repetitions are completed, switch legs. The most common issue for hockey players in this exercise is performing the full range of motion without compensation or dropping to the pad in the lower portions of the exercise. This can be fixed by adding a second pad to limit the range of motion.

Figure 5.33 Skater squat to hip lock.
Figure 5.33 Skater squat to hip lock.

Skater Squat—Half Repetition
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in front of a pad. Assume a single-leg half-squat position to start. Descend and touch the non-weight-bearing knee to the pad. While pushing your knee out, stand up out of the bottom position in the same manner you entered, and finish in the starting position, only halfway up (figure 5.34). Once all repetitions are completed, switch legs.

Figure 5.34 Skater squat—half repetition.
Figure 5.34 Skater squat—half repetition.

Hinge
The hinge is another fundamental pattern that hockey players must master. During the hinge, the athlete bends at the hips while maintaining a neutral spine. This movement involves the muscle groups primarily responsible for hip extension, the glutes and hamstrings, and the spinal erectors. The hinge is a demanding pattern and involves coordinated movement of the hip.

Bilateral Variations These variations include exercises based on two legs.