Using the Split Squat to Potentiate Bilateral and Unilateral Jump Performance
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.