Exercise of the Week: Barbell Drop Split Squat
June 8, 2022 at 12:23 pm, writes Eric Cressy
Today’s guest post comes from Crazy Sports Performance Coach, Ethan Dyer.
The Barbell Drop Split Squat is a lift we use at this time of year (the transition from spring to summer) with some of our toughest athletes at CSP. Although this can be done with a safety squat bar, goblet set-up or back squat position, this video illustrates the front loaded (front squat grip) version:
Most of the upper arms we see are stiffened by their lower body, especially in the case of internal rotation. This is usually true if they have sufficient external rotation elsewhere – sufficient range of motion on the mound to allow the position to enter and exit and generate velocity / spin, ideally without forcing unwanted consequences on the chain (e.g., excessive spine or shoulder motion).
In this case the athlete does not have ROM to go down the split squat or reverse lounge without discomfort or suboptimal mechanics, so we use drop squats instead. By momentarily lowering the weight of the front pelvis (compared to the back), he finds a position of the IR below which he would not otherwise be able to. This is a great example of how we can work with traditional output qualities without compromising on position.
An added benefit here is the jump from bizarre to concentrated adaptation and from ER to IR as quickly as possible, which we wouldn’t otherwise see in a gym – especially with the classic “lower body” lifts. Additionally, an athlete needs to work hard to develop strength – which is the type of front hip pull-back performed with hits and pitching.
All of this is combined to make a drop split squat a great choice for baseball players at this time of year. We can effectively work around dramatic ROM issues that would otherwise take months to clear up (save it for offseason), keeping our boys athletic as well as allowing them to enter and exit important positions with load / speed in the gym. If you have someone who is in-season or out for a few weeks, stick to 3-4 sets of 3-4 repetitions on each side.
About the author
Ethan Dyer works as a strength and conditioning coach at Cracy Sports Performance. He started as a client at CSP and eventually became an intern at CSP-MA. After another internship at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, Ethan joined the CSP-MA team. He was a pitcher at Holy Cross College before moving to Endicut College and graduating with a major in exercise science and a minor in psychology. A certified strength and conditioning coach through the National Strength and Conditioners Association, Ethan was a volunteer for both the Miracle League and the Special Olympics and has a passion for working with young athletes to help them fall in love with training to avoid injury. You can follow him on Instagram Ethan ___ Dyer.
Sign up today for our free newsletter and get a four-part video series on how to deadlift!