If you want to get super strong, get toned muscles, look awesome, _____________ you need to be doing unilateral exercises in addition to your bilateral exercises.
As a refresher, bilateral exercises (squat, deadlift, glute bridge) let both your limbs share the load. Unilateral exercises (single leg, single arm exercises) mostly favor one limb.
For this article we are most referring to your legs.
If you have strong single leg strength, it is only going to increase how much you can lift with both legs and help your joints be more stable/stronger as well.
Today, we make the case for the barbell split squat.
I used to hate split squats because when you first start doing them, the quad burn is intense and your knees might feel a bit unstable.
But once you have mastered the movement and can increase the weight, you will be able really feel your glutes working and more control/stability with your knee joint.
Make sure to spend some time getting used to the movement and finding the best distance between your feet for you, then progress to adding a barbell.
Once you are comfortable with that, work on increasing your weight. Here is a recommended progression (for incorporating split squat into your workout twice a week).
Week 1: Bodyweight 3 sets of 8, then 12
Week 2: Bodyweight 4 sets of 8, then 12
Week 3: Light barbell 4 sets of 6, then 8
Week 4: Light barbell 3 sets of 10, then 13
Week 5: Slightly increase weight 5 sets of 5 (both days)
Week 6: Slightly increase weight 4 sets of 6, then 4 sets of 7
Week 7: Same weight for 5 sets of 6 (both days)
Week 8: Select adequate weight for 4 sets of 8
*Continue incorporating split squats into your workout varying from 3 sets of 10-12, 4 sets of 6-8 and 5 sets of 5-6.
Playing around with the rep ranges lets you do a little strength and hypertrophy to let you both strengthen and build those quad and glute muscles.
Try it out and let me know what you think!