I just got back from speaking at the Perform Better Summit in Chicago. In between my talks I took in Stuart McGill’s talk ( he is always one of my favorites and has greatly influenced me).
Recently Dr McGill has been vocal about Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats potentially causing back pain, particularly SI joint pain and as he calls it “pelvic ring” disruption.
We probably use the rear foot elevated split squat as much as anyone and, have not had any increase in SI joint pain or back pain in general. In fact, we switched to the split squat variations in response to back pain from heavy back and front squats.
My theory on why we don’t have back pain from the rear foot elevated split squat is three fold.
1- We use a relatively short stance. A lot of the videos I’ve seen have the rear leg quite extended.
2- We rarely do more than 30 reps per week per leg. A big volume week for us would be three sets of 10.
3- We never put the bar in a back or front squat position. Positioning the bar this way causes a great deal of lumbar extension which could increase back stress and anterior hip stress. We always use dumbbells of kettle bells.
I think this “idea” is just that and has very little basis in fact. As much I’m reluctant to disagree with Dr McGill I have to one this one.
Early in the week I polled StrengthCoach.com members and couldn’t find one who thought that rear foot elevated split squats had resulted in either them or their athletes having an increase in back pain. Coincidence? I think not.