Using the Split Squat to Potentiate Bilateral and Unilateral Jump Performance

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Bishop, CJ, Tarrant, J, Jarvis, PT, and Turner, AN. Using the split squat to potentiate bilateral and unilateral jump performance. J Strength Cond Res 31(8): 2216–2222, 2017—The purpose of this study was to examine if a split squat conditioning exercise with no or light loads could potentiate unilateral and bilateral jump performance. Twelve semiprofessional rugby players (age: 22.3 ± 1.4 years; height: 1.84 ± 0.05 m, mass: 92.4 ± 9.6 kg) from the English National League 1 performed a series of unilateral and bilateral countermovement jumps (CMJ) and broad jumps (BJ) over the course of 2 testing days. Both testing days involved performing baseline jumps before completing 2 sets of 10 repetitions of a split squat, this completed with either bodyweight (testing session 1) or a 30 kg weighted vest (testing session 2). A 5-minute recovery period was permitted both after the warm-up and the completion of the split squat exercise. Significantly larger bilateral jump scores were reported after completion of the bodyweight split squat: CMJ (p = 0.001, ES = 0.44, [mean difference 2.517]), BJ (p = 0.001, ES = 0.37, [mean difference 3.817]), and the weighted vest split squat; CMJ (p = 0.001, ES = 0.8, [mean difference 4.383]), BJ (p = 0.001, ES = 0.68, [mean difference 6.817]). The findings of this study demonstrate that no or light loads of a split squat conditioning exercise are able to potentiate bilateral jump performance in semiprofessional rugby players without the need for expensive weight room equipment. As such, this may provide coaches with a viable option of enhancing bilateral jump performance as part of a warm-up or on-field conditioning practice.

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