Single-leg exercises earn their place in just about any serious training programme. Correcting muscle imbalances and minimising bilateral deficit not only increase athletic performance, but contributes to injury prevention as well. You may be familiar with movements such as lunges, reverse lunges, split squats (front and rear foot-elevated) and Cossack squats, but what about skater squats?
Contrary to what its name implies, the skater squat isn’t just for skateboard enthusiasts. Performed properly, the skater squat excels at building hip stability along with single-leg strength and coordination. And while they’re harder to execute compared to the above-mentioned single-legged exercises, they’re a simpler alternative to the impressive-but-complicated pistol squat.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
In essence, a skater squat is a reverse lunge done with a slideboard, so it makes sense to first attain proficiency in the latter before advancing up to this movement. Placing the rear foot on the slideboard, pull it back as you descend in to a half-kneeling position while keeping your rear knee just above the ground. Extending your arms in front of you as you do will provide a counter-balance which will make it easier to stay upright, but if you wish to do so, you can always hold them clasped in front of your chest. Reverse and complete the motion by standing up with your front leg.
The skater squat is considerably joint-friendly; the knee shouldn’t need to extend too far beyond the front of the foot. This means that the skater squat can be performed at higher frequencies without cause for concern. In terms of progression, the use of paused repetitions or eccentrics can be used to increase the amount of tension. Alternatively, implements such as weighted vests, dumbbells and kettlebells can also be used to introduce load to the movement.
When performing the skater squat, be sure to keep your posture in check. This means ensuring that:
- Hips don’t hike up
- Back doesn’t round
- Forward lean isn’t excessive
- Rear leg doesn’t drift
Keeping a neutral spine and maintaining pressure on the back of your front foot will allow you to set up correctly for the skater squat from the beginning. If you’re worried about your rear knee crashing into the unforgiving ground, place a padded mat or towel behind you in advance. You don’t need to get your knees banged up in order to get a good leg workout!