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The Running Room #1: Deficit Split Squat

Simple strength exercices for every runner.

The Deficit Split Squat is a strength exercise where both legs are elevated on a step or platform. It focuses on the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, while enhancing balance and stability.

Scientific Explanation From Coach Victor 👨‍🏫

The deficit split squat offers a plethora of benefits:

  • enhances the strength and stability of key muscle groups involved in running (quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings)

  • challenges balance and proprioception

  • improves joint stability

  • improving flexibility and agility

How to Perform It? 🤸‍♀️

  1. Starting Position: Place your feet on the platforms.

  2. Execution: Lower your body by bending your front knee, keeping your torso upright. Go as low as comfortably possible.

  3. Return: Push through your front foot to return to the starting position.

  4. Repetition: Perform the desired number of repetitions, then switch legs.

Tips ✅

  • Ensure proper alignment by keeping your knees in line with your feet.

  • Engage your core throughout the exercise for stability.

  • Focus on a controlled descent to maximise muscle engagement.

Common Mistakes to Avoid ❌

  • Avoid letting your front knee extend past your toes, as this can put undue stress on the knee joint.

  • Do not let your back arch; maintain a neutral spine.

  • Avoid rushing through the movement; slow and controlled is more effective.

Variations 📊

Beginners: Perform the exercise without any elevation.

Advanced: Increase the height of the step or add weights for additional resistance.

Integrations Into Training 📆

  • Incorporate the deficit split squat into your running routine 1-2 times per week depending on your overall training load. 

  • Start with 3 sets of 8-12 reps per leg, focusing on good form. As you progress, you can increase the reps and add weight.

Arthur's Take As A Runner 🏃

As a runner, I find the Deficit Split Squat to be beneficial:

  • strengthens my legs

  • addresses muscle imbalances, which is an issue for me (my left leg is stronger).

  • the exercise's emphasis on one leg at a time mimics the unilateral nature of running, making the strength gains transferable


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