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Easy methods to Do the ATG (Ass-to-Grass) Cut up Squat for Unprecedented Leg Good points

A person doing an ATG split squat.

Within the land of leg features, depth is king. It doesn’t matter what workouts you carry out or what your targets are, by and enormous, using a full vary of movement will transfer the needle higher than reducing issues brief.

That is as true for the usual again squat as it’s to your equipment of alternative. If you wish to chew up each final morsel of potential muscle acquire, you want a single-leg train that ups the ante in your vary of movement. You must do the ATG (thats ass-to-grass) break up squat.

Credit score: Khosro / Shutterstock

Because the title implies, this modified single-leg squat is all about emphasizing your vary of movement. In doing so, you kill two birds with one stone: Larger, stronger legs and sturdy mobility by means of your hips, knees, and ankles. Heres find out how to correctly execute the ATG break up squat. 

Easy methods to Do the ATG Cut up Squat

Aside from decently-mobile joints, theres no obligatory tools for the ATG break up squat. Nonetheless, to get the perfect bang to your buck, you must in all probability work with some weight on this one. 

This information will educate you find out how to do an ass-to-grass break up squat with a barbell. Learn on for extra data on find out how to load this motion in alternate methods. 

Step 1 Unrack Your Bar

A person holding a barbell across his traps.
Credit score: Useful Bodybuilding / Youtube

Take away a lightly-loaded barbell from a squat or energy rack as should you had been going to carry out a normal again squat. The bar ought to relaxation on the meat of your higher traps. Grip the bar firmly sufficient that it stays in place. 

Coachs Tip: Grabbing the bar with a large grip could aid you preserve your steadiness. 

Step 2 Cut up Your Toes

 A person holding a barbell across his traps preparing to squat.
Credit score: Useful Bodybuilding / Youtube

Step ahead together with your dominant leg and plant your foot roughly two toes in entrance of you. The heel of your again foot ought to come off the bottom such that youre balancing in your toes. Put a majority of your weight onto your entrance leg. 

Coachs Tip: To enhance your steadiness, you possibly can step ahead and barely out to the facet. 

Step 3 Sink Ahead

A person doing an ATG split squat with a barbell.
Credit score: Useful Bodybuilding / Youtube

That is the place the ATG break up squat diverges from a normal single-leg squat. Provoke the motion by dropping your hips down and ahead, as should you had been pushing all of your weight into your entrance leg.

The knee of your working leg ought to journey ahead over your toes and the again of your thigh ought to come into contact together with your calf. Push so far as you possibly can with out your entrance heel coming off the ground, after which reverse the movement by straightening your working leg. 

Coachs Tip: Take into consideration driving your entrance heel into the bottom the complete time to actually stretch out your ankles. 

ATG Cut up Squat Units and Reps`

An additional-deep break up squat is each a muscle-building machine and a good way to stretch and mobilize your decrease physique. Listed here are a couple of alternative ways you possibly can program the ATG break up squat: 

  • For Muscle Progress: Go for 3 units of 6 to eight reps with a sluggish tempo and average weight.
  • For Leg Energy: Attempt 2 or 3 units of 5 reps with a heavy weight.
  • To Enhance Flexibility: Use a light-weight weight and do 2 units of 10 or extra reps with a managed tempo. 

Widespread ATG Cut up Squat Errors

You dont wish to miss the mark on the ATG break up squat. Its a remarkably potent accent train to your decrease physique if you will get the method proper. Maintain these errors in thoughts so you possibly can sidestep them whenever you begin your set. 

Chopping Your Vary of Movement

An extreme vary of movement is the hallmark function of a great ATG break up squat. When you arent pushing far into your working leg, youre leaving features on the desk and will even be losing your time altogether.

You might have to change your setup ultimately to make sure you can entry a deep squat (resembling placing a wedge underneath your heel to enhance your ankle mobility), however in any case, you want to make your hamstrings contact your calves on each rep

Too A lot Weight on the Again Leg

Improperly distributing your individual physique weight could cause issues to go awry throughout any single-leg motion. While you carry out the ATG break up squat, placing an excessive amount of weight in your again leg will doubtless alter your posture and probably forestall you from getting your working leg right into a deep sufficient vary of movement. 

Restricted Knee Journey

It isnt a strict requirement essentially, however getting your working knee previous your toes is a defining function of the ATG break up squat. Doing so requires stable ankle mobility. When you have it already, the ATG break up squat in all probability feels fairly pure to you.

When you dont, you should use the motion to unlock your ankles. While you carry out the ATG break up squat, be affected person on each rep and attempt to inch your knee ahead only a tiny bit extra every time. 

A person doing a split squat.
Credit score: Tinatin / Shutterstock

Regardless of what you’ll have heard, theres nothing intrinsically fallacious or harmful about ahead knee journey, supplied you’ve the mobility for it. If youre forcing your knee ahead laborious sufficient that your heel flutters off the ground, you might be doing extra hurt than good by compensating for a stage of mobility that your ankle doesnt but possess.

Pushing your knee over your toe will enhance muscle activation within the quadriceps and stimulate the connective tissue that binds your ankle. (1) Its under no circumstances injurious or harmful, so long as you arent nursing an damage or making an attempt to work with a load you arent prepared for

ATG Cut up Squat Variations

If you wish to put a spin on the ass-to-grass break up squat, check out one in every of these variations. The motion might not be as modifiable as another workouts on the market, however you possibly can nonetheless regulate it to raised fit your coaching wants. 

Elevating your entrance foot on the ATG break up squat will shift the main focus away from knee journey and extra in direction of hip flexion. Because of this, this variation ought to stimulate your glutes a bit greater than your quads. 

It’s also possible to place your entrance foot onto a block or weight plate if you wish to prioritize hip mobility. Elevating your entrance foot could restrict the quantity of ahead knee journey, however you must have the ability to sink deeper into hip flexion. 

Dumbbell ATG Cut up Squat

Working with the barbell is right in a variety of circumstances, but it surely might not be acceptable for you in the course of the ATG break up squat. When you decide to work with dumbbells, the train ought to turn out to be much less of a balancing act.

The barbell is nice for maximizing your loading potential, however you need to bodily grip it together with your fingers. This will negatively have an effect on your steadiness. Holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides ought to present extra stability and permit you to appropriate any bodily swaying or tipping. If you want to exit the set instantly as a consequence of muscular failure, dumbbells are additionally simpler to ditch.

ATG Cut up Squat Alternate options

For many gymgoers, theres no such factor as a real must-do motion. In some instances, the ATG break up squat may be extra hassle than its value. If you wish to reap lots of the advantages the train gives however cant appear to make it work, check out these alternate options to the ATG break up squat as an alternative. 

Bulgarian Cut up Squat

If you wish to maximize muscular power and dimension and arent overly involved together with your lower-body mobility, you are able to do Bulgarian break up squats as an alternative of ATG break up squats.

Bulgarians are often known as rear-foot-elevated break up squats. Inserting your again leg onto a bench or field as an alternative of the ground helps you to squat deeply, however will restrict your skill to push your knee past your toes in some instances. Nonetheless, you should use heavier weights more often than not.


You will get vertical together with your leg coaching by performing step-ups as an alternative. Whether or not you choose to work with weights or not, step ups are each a leg-builder and an superior conditioning train.

The upper the floor youre stepping to, the extra hip flexibility youll have to carry out the motion correctly. This makes the step-up extraordinarily customizable in accordance together with your coaching wants. 

Cut up Snatch

Many years in the past, Olympic lifters used the ATG break up squat to catch heavy weights overhead in actions just like the break up snatch or break up clear. The posture lets you get very low to the ground, supplying you with probably the most room to carry a loaded barbell over your head. 

Although the break up snatch could have fallen out of trend amongst weightlifters, you may give it a attempt for your self. Its an especially intricate motion that you must in all probability study from an in-person coach, however can be a variety of enjoyable and may be nice for educating bodily coordination and creating explosive energy. 

Muscular tissues Labored by the ATG Cut up Squat

Whether or not youre squatting, pulling, urgent, or performing 5 units of ATG break up squats on leg day (a real problem), you want a working information of your individual anatomy. Understanding how a given train works sure muscle groups can impression your motivation and aid you make higher features. 


Any motion that entails bending or extending your knee will activate your quadriceps to some extent. Your quads are a four-compartment muscle on the entrance of your thigh that, principally and virtually completely, work to straighten your knee towards resistance. 

Unrestricted ankles will permit you to push your knee ahead in the course of the ATG break up squat. This locations extra load in your quads the additional you go. Good flexibility which the motion each requires and creates is thus integral to constructing your quads with the ATG break up squat. 


Hip flexion, or the angle of your thigh relative to your torso, prompts your glutes. Your gluteal muscle groups (the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) cross the hip joint and primarily carry out hip extension. 

An train just like the ATG break up squat is incredible for glute improvement particularly as a result of it lets you sit right into a deep squat place with a variety of hip flexion. The underside of the squat is the place your glutes are positioned underneath the best quantity of stretch, and are thus primed for development. 


All lower-body workouts are, partially, core workouts (that’s, if youre working with free weights) as effectively. Your core consists of extra than simply your stomach muscle groups: Your obliques, which resist side-to-side twisting, and your decrease again additionally contribute to core stability.

Abs of a person in a black sports bra.
Credit score: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

Splitting your toes in the course of the ATG break up squat is the difficult half to your core. By altering your base of assist and putting your toes distant out of your heart of gravity, your core has to work time beyond regulation to stabilize your torso when you carry out your reps. 

Advantages of the ATG Cut up Squat

Is the ATG break up squat best for you? To reply that query, you want to know the precise advantages the train gives. Heres a shortlist of what to anticipate should you incorporate it into your subsequent leg exercise:

Nice for Hip Mobility

The ATG break up squat is among the many greatest actions you are able to do to extend your lower-body flexibility. Inserting your knees and hips underneath load and taking them into the deepest ranges of movement is incredible for constructing long-lasting mobility in these joints.

Builds Your Quads and Glutes

In the case of constructing muscle, any train you carry out ought to meet a couple of standards. It must be safely loadable, take the muscle groups in query by means of a wide variety of movement, and be sensible to carry out with the tools you’ve entry to.

The ATG break up squat checks all these bins, making it a stellar decide for leg hypertrophy or as an adjunct motion to your again squat coaching if youre a powerlifter.

Improves Ankle Mobility

Coaching for power or muscularity isnt solely distinct from enhancing your mobility. When you elevate by means of a full vary of movement with added resistance, youre basically performing a loaded stretch.

That is extra true for some workouts, just like the ATG break up squat, than others. Youll most frequently carry out this train with a sluggish cadence and nice consideration paid to your method. Because of this, you must anticipate to enhance your ankle mobility as you regularly drive your knee additional ahead over your toe.

Who Ought to Do the ATG Cut up Squat

Whether or not youre making an attempt to get limber, are practising for a power sport, or wish to develop muscle with a brand new motion, the ATG break up squat is for you. Heres how this train helps you’re employed towards these particular targets. 

If Youre Rigid

The ATG break up squat is a incredible choice as a loaded stretch or warm-up drill for flexibility. It requires you to push your hip, knee, and ankle joints to the ends of their ranges of movement towards resistance. Thats the best recipe for enhancing your mobility. 


Weightlifters could carry out solely the snatch and clear & jerk in competitors, however your accent coaching must be various and canopy a big selection of athletic qualities. Furthermore, Olympic lifting is sort of completely bilateral you spend a overwhelming majority of your time working together with your legs firmly underneath your physique.

Together with a motion just like the ATG break up squat as a part of your accent coaching can introduce some much-needed selection to the stimulation you give your physique and assist hold your hips cell on the similar time. 


Constructing muscle is all about discovering the proper motion for the muscle groups in query. If lunges or Bulgarian break up squats arent doing it for you, you would possibly wish to attempt the ATG break up squat as an alternative.

A bodybuilder holding a barbell across his traps.
Credit score: ALL greatest health is HERE / Shutterstock

To maximise your outcomes from this train, although, you want stable ankle and hip mobility. With out them, you cant entry the ranges of movement that stretch your muscle groups probably the most. This can be a cost-benefit evaluation youll need to do your self. 

Making Strides

A superb leg train does multiple factor at a time. The ATG break up squat builds your quads and glutes, positive. But it surely additionally helps you get extra versatile. Oh, and it improves your steadiness. It’s also possible to do it nearly wherever, with any sort of kit (or none in any respect).

The ATG break up squat boasts an extended listing of potential advantages, whereas the drawbacks are slight and few. You’ve got little to lose and so, a lot to realize. Get your ass to the grass and see for your self. 


Nonetheless scratching your head concerning the ATG break up squat? No worries. Listed here are a couple of widespread questions concerning the train, answered.

What does ATG stand for?

ATG means ass-to-grass. In weight lifting, it’s a basic descriptor that refers to squatting as deep as functionally doable on an train. Be aware that it doesnt actually imply you possibly can contact the ground together with your buttocks. That mentioned, for a squat to depend as ATG your hip crease must be effectively under your kneecap within the backside.

Are ATG break up squats dangerous for my knees?

Not essentially. If youre wholesome and never coping with an damage, no train is instantly injurious by itself. That mentioned, ATG break up squats do take a number of joints into excessive ranges of movement and normally towards exterior load.

If youre not used to working in these ranges, this may occasionally apply extra stress to your physique than it will probably bear. Your greatest wager is to take issues sluggish at first and carry out ATG break up squats with none weight earlier than loading up.


  1. Schoenfeld B. J. (2010). Squatting kinematics and kinetics and their utility to train efficiency. Journal of power and conditioning analysis, 24(12), 34973506. 

Featured Picture: Khosro / Shutterstock

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