Taking A Look At Dumbbell Holding Positions For Split Squats and Walking Lunges

I was recently reading the article titled “Does the dumbbell-carrying position change the muscle activity in split squats and walking lunges?” that was published in the Strength and Conditioning journal in November 2015 and thought I would discuss and highlight some of the key take home messages taken from the article.

Typically in the strength and conditioning and rehab environment many professionals will look to prescribe split squats or walking lunges in order to train both sides of the lower limb.  These are great exercises because it allows one to focus on building strength, mobility and motor control in a split stance position in contrast to a squat where we are loading both sides of the body with a parallel foot stance.  From a functional stand point, it is important to address squats, lunges and single leg work because these are movements that we perform on a daily basis.  Therefore lunges and split squats will often be a big part of our programs at Principle Four Osteopathy, be it as part of our prehab, performance or rehab focus.

Key Messages From The Article

  • Split squats and lunges are exercises that require one to control their body in the frontal plane and therefore those muscles that help to stabilise the pelvis in the frontal plane i.e. gluteus medius will working. Vastus medialis and lateralis are also two muscles that wor to help stabilise the knee in the frontal plane.
  • One may look to select different squat and split stance leg exercises to focus on strengthening specific muscles of the lower limb as per the individuals needs.
  • There has been limited research looking at the effect of dumbbell carrying position when performing lunges and split squats.
  • Dumbbell carrying positions utilised in the study include ipsilateral and contralateral holds for split squats.
  • Results from the study showed that non weight trained participants will perform walking lunges with less knee flexion than during split squats.  Suggesting that split squats should be performed before walking lunges to ensure a greater range of motion is trained.
  • Results showed that contralateral walking lunges produce greater glute medius and vastus lateralis activities compared to ipsilateral walking lunges and both types of split squats.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  Find out more by checking us out at www.principlefourosteopathy.com.