by Matt Basso | November 2011

An amazing exercise you’re not doing. (RLESS)

 There are so many exercises to choose from....Probably too many exercises actually. It's nice to have options, but at the same time you need to choose your exercises wisely and stay focused. I recently wrote a blog about squatting to have a nice butt,  you can find it here so to elaborate a little bit more I want to touch on the rear leg elevated split squat (RLESS).

 In my opinion squatting is one of the most important exercises one can do...  Not only so you can have a nice ass,  but also because your body will function much better when you have strong glutes. There are all kinds of squats to choose from, and ranking in the top 3 for me would be...

1. Back squats ( barbel placed on your back )

2.  Rear leg elevated split squats ( rear leg up on a bench or box )

3.  Front squats ( Barbel placed in the rack position )

 Rear leg elevated split squats are great for several reasons.

1.  They incorporate a lot of balance and therefore really fire the core.

2.  If you have hamstring flexibility issues you can still get good depth which is important because that allows you to use your hamstrings and your glutes properly.

3.   It forces one leg to do 90%  or more of the work therefore you can't cheat by using more of your dominant side.

4.  While strengthening one leg you're actually stretching and mobilizing the quad and hip flexor of the other leg.

5.  Your arms have more freedom than in back squats or front squats so you can hold weights or other objects in a variety of different positions to accomplish different goals.

6.  And finally....   When you do them you look like you really know what you're doing.  Which makes you cool.

               Here I put my client in front of a plyo box with a mat on top to cushion the rear foot and added a half foam roll at a predetermined distance from the box so that every rep would be consistent. I suggest you do the same so that your front foot is positioned at the same distance for every rep of every set. You don't have to use a plyo box, you can use a bench, a chair, an Ottoman, basically whatever you have at your disposal that is sturdy.  You'll want to find something that works for your height but usually a bench in a gym will work fine. As you practice these more you'll learn more about body positioning and what tools to use.


In the above photos my client is simply using her body weight as the resistance. In the photo below you can see she is holding a dumbbell in front of her chest, what we call the goblet position.

 As I said earlier feel free to get creative with how you hold the weights. They can be down by your side, above your head, maybe you want to add a bicep curl with it.... Basically try different things.

 Add these rear leg elevated split squats into your current program and I guarantee your butt  and legs will not only look better but perform better as well.


Filed under: Training