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ATG Split Squat: The Ultimate Leg Exercise

Ben Patrick (From Knees Over Toes) has popularized an exercise called the ATG Split Squat or ATG Lunge.

"ATG" stands "ass-to-grass" and it implies you should go as low and deep as possible.

In this blog post we will cover:

  • The muscles worked in the ATG Split Squat
  • The Benefits of the ATG Split Squat
  • ATG SPlit Squat Equipment
  • ATG Split Squat Regressions
  • ATG Split Squat Progressions

ATG Split Squat Muscles Worked

The ATG Split squat primarily works the:

  • quadriceps femoris (VMO)
  • gluteal muscles
  • adductors 

However, its also fair to say the ATG split squat also works the core, tibialis and other stabilizing muscles.

ATG Split Squat Benefits

Compared to other parts of yoru body, the knee doesn't get much blood flow.

The tendons, muscles and ligaments of the knee have very limited blood supply.

Most of the nutrients are delivered via the synovial joint fluid.

The ATG Split Squat, increases the blood flow to the knee which leads to faster recovery and healthier knees.

In addistion, The ATG Split Squat strengthens muscles, tendion and ligaments related to the knee and ankles, while also incuding more mobility.

ATG Split Equipment

ATG Split Correct Form

Keep back leg as straight as possible

You want the tension to be in your front leg and front knee. Bending the back leg will turn this exercise into a regular bulgrain split squat and no longer work the correct muscles.

Focus on the knee!

This movement is meant to strengthen the knee. Try to get your knee as far over the toes as possible!

Keep Torso Upright

Keep your torso as straight and stable as possible. Moving your torso and using momentum will decreaes the effectiveness of the movement.

Consider Elevating your Front Heel

Elevating your front heel, will allow you to drive your knee further as you won't be limited by your ankle mobility.

Furthermore, it will add stability as your heel comes up, since your heel will have a platform instead of being suspended in the air.

Start Slow

make sure to warm up properly and pick the right progression. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury!

ATG Split Squat Regression

Elevated ATG Split Squat

If a bodyweight ATG Split Squat is too challenging, we recommend start by elevating your front foot with a platform.

You can slowly lower the height of the platform as you progress.


Assisted ATG Split Squat

Another option is to use your hands to grab a ledge, wall, or resistance bands for assistance.

As you progress try to lower the amount of assistance you use.

If you use a resistance band, hang it onto a overhead structure like a pull-up bar.

ATG Split Squat Progression

Weighted ATG Split Squat

The Best Way to Progress on ATG SPlit Squats is to add weight.

You can either use a resistance band, hold dumbbells or use a weight vest.

If using a band, Place it under your front foot and around upper back.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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