Movement Monkeys


The thirst for new exercises to entertain clients and readers is growing every year. Each conference is usually a trade show of what variation one can come up with or a infomercial of equipment being peddled by gypsies. The convention groupies are usually personal trainers or new coaches wanting the flavor of the week and that is exercises. While variation is important, repetition is often called the mother of learning for a reason. You need to practice the skills as results take time. How to balance this is an article by itself, my complaint is that the Wall Split Squat proposed by Nick lacks clarity why he includes it. One reader of sent me the link to Nick Tumminello’s Five New Exercises. Often when I hear new I either get worried because the readers and athletes are usually the guinea pigs, or get disappointed because it’s usually not new or it’s unnecessary. Big debates are up now on glute recruitment (activation) and what exercises do this or that but it’s better to see how muscles work instead of finding exercises to work those muscle groups.

Here is what Nick Tumminello writes:

We’ve all done static lunges, and I’m sure almost everyone reading this has done the more difficult (and infinitely less popular) progression, Bulgarian split squats. The problem with that progression is that the BSS takes the glutes out of the exercise. It’s almost all knee extension. I developed the wall split squat as a way to put the posterior chain back into the movement without losing the obvious benefit of quad development.If you’re involved in any kind of sport that requires an explosive forward motion – a wrestler shooting for a takedown, a sprinter coming off the blocks, a football lineman coming out of a three- or four-point stance – the wall split squat can help.Stand with your back to a wall so one foot is flat against the wall and the other is far enough out in front of you that you can do a split squat. You want a slight bend in your front knee, your torso upright, and your hands behind your head in a prisoner grip.Make sure, as shown in the photo below, that the heel of the foot on the wall is at the same height as your knees.Now, keeping your rear foot on the wall (thus activating your glutes), drop into a lunge position. A slight forward lean is okay, but try to remain as upright as possible throughout the movement.Of all the exercises in this article, the WSS is the one I’m most excited to share and have you try.

My problem with this exercise is that it claims it’s getting more glutes than a bulgarian split squat because the support leg uses the quad and the front leg is too quad dominant. I agree to a point but he also forgets that the pressure against the wall must be high in order to allow the body to drop down vertically or you will have a weight shift to the knee. The glutes work on depth, foot alignment, and of course load. Having a forward lean is ok but the low back should be taken out of the exercise if one is to load it with a bar or pair of dumbbells. As the body drops you want to have the knee at mid foot and let the femur and pelvis descend, if the knee rolls forward it’s ok but the exercise changes if the depth is not adjusted lower. The above details are important as the exercise is not going to put enough load on the glutes the way it’s worded and photographed. As for having a lineman or sprinter come out of the blocks or line with this exercise without suggestion that you add some serious load is just not realistic. I think he should explain that this is a great exercise for those finding bulgarian split squats uncomfortable on the rear foot or toes or if one has a balance issue. It might be a good exercise if done right(I think there is far better options) but it’s not going to create freaks in the NFL or give you an advantage against Bolt in the 100m.

Note: Being critical helps evolve the field like when a computer programmer debugs source code. It would be cool if those at used popular exercises and helped edit descriptions so they can be done better. I think Nick has valuable information many readers here realize that he is still human and his not perfect. Focusing on what people do right is great but when something is off we must all help ensure that the bug is fixed.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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