Great article on split squats, a must read. What do we know about split squats?
What are the practical implications?
For strength and conditioning coaches:
Since the test-retest measures of the split squat have been reported to be highly reliable, the split squat can be used with confidence to assess lower body strength.
For everyone resistance training:
Since the results of EMG studies indicate that there is little difference between the split squat and conventional back squat, the split squat can be substituted for the conventional back squat for developing lower body strength.
The split squat may involve a greater ratio of hip-to-knee moments, greater hamstring EMG activity and less quadriceps EMG activity. It may therefore be useful to substitute for the conventional back squat where a program requires a greater emphasis on hip-dominant exercises.
The split squat involves a lower torso angle. Lower torso angles during squats are associated with reduced lumbar spinal moments. Therefore, the split squat may be useful to substitute for the conventional back squat where reduced lumbar spinal loading is desirable.
Since testosterone concentrations rise post-exercise similarly following both split squat and conventional back squat workouts, both types of squats are therefore likely to have similar beneficial effects on post-exercise hormonal milieu and consequent hypertrophy.
For powerlifters, it is critical to note that the back squat is both a training tool and the event itself. Specificity and event practice are therefore important here. So while split squats may be useful as assistance work for some powerlifters, it is highly unlikely that the split squat would be able to replace conventional back squats in a powerlifting program.