How To ATG Split Squat

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How To ATG Split Squat

Spending time with Knees Over Toes Guy, Ben, I got to learn a lot about the ATG split squat. The first thing Knees Over Toes Guy directed my attention to was using weightlifting shoes to create an elevated heel. Not everyone wants to drop the cash on the shoes so Ben created a wedge to help elevate the heel as people develop the mobility to work through the movement. 


According to Knees Over Toes Guy, the focus of the ATG split squat is the range of motion through the knee while paying attention to the back hip flexor. Every rep we to think about how long the muscle can become to chase the greatest range of motion. The focus needs to be on achieving the perfect rep each time. 

My athlete Jake Horst was down at Ben’s with me. Ben asked us to do five sets of four to six reps with each leg. We were told to rest between each leg. Ben worked directly with me. He told me to go nice and low and focus on the back hip flexor. My left hip really felt the stretch.


It is a great movement to not only work mobility, but to work on leg drive. Another great thing about the ATG split squat is that the movement gives muscles a break from normal patterns. I did a pretty outstanding job with my left leg forward, lengthening through my right hip flexor.


Ben said he does this movement once a week but the intention is to chase the perfect rep each time. He also noted that each rep takes a while to complete. The intention is important. We don’t want to bounce and pop out of the bottom but pause in the bottom before exploding up.

atg split squat

As the ATG split squat becomes a strength exercise through dumbbell loading, the back leg becomes more and more important. The use of the back leg is also why athletes need to rest between each leg. The back leg is active just like the front leg when performing the movement. 


According to Ben, the ATG split squat puts the body in true hip extension and allows the lower back to set right. Now if the back leg goes limp to the ground and we just do a hip flexor stretch, it would be just doing a static stretch. When loading through a strong position, there is actually more potential to lengthen the area and not leave a week from the time of performance. 

Jake crushed the movement loaded. I got deeper as I got loaded, meaning my intention was spot on. The ATG split squat also created the potential to thicken up the tendons and ligaments like the patella. The goal is to get the thigh to the calf to crush a whole set of fingers on a hand. 


The ATG split squat creates a different strength stimulus for people who haven’t been training the movement before. The loaded movement allowed me to get deeper than I could with body weight. That meant fibers that aren’t normally hit started getting the gains. Basically, some newbie gains for quads, glutes, and adductors from the great range of motion.


The ATG split squat creates a major long-term gain in mobility

Recap

The position of the ATG split squat is tough for a lot of people to get into. However, the foot can be elevated to get the leg into the position. However, elevating the leg too high totally eliminates the loading. People in the worst shape, this is a solid place to start. Another way is to put the body in a power rack with a band in a reverse position to get into the position with a lightened load. 

The reverse band is a game-changer for people who wish they can do the ATG split squat. Bands are a great way to build back up their strength. The band helps the body have the ability to get into positions. 

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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