Does leaning forwards on split squats and/or lunges increase the recruitment of glutes, or decrease it? In both cases, we’re going to assume the knee does not drift past the toe, the femurs go to slightly below parallel, and if the torso is leaning forwards, it’s leaning forwards at the hip, not the waist.
I have heard arguments for both;
1). Bret Contreras said that research shows that during lunges, if you use a forward lean, the recruitment of glutes is increased, and if you stay upright, you gain no additional benefit. This agrees with the fact that people often say low-bar squats hit the glutes harder because the torso leans further forward.
2). However, the more traditional advice is that your torso should stay upright during lunges and split squats. Leaning forward decreases the benefit of the hip-flexor stretch at the bottom of the movement, and also transfers the weight off the glutes and onto the quads because your bodyweight is now centered over your knee. Lunges and split squats in this sense could be similar to smith-machine squats in that when you place your legs far from the bar, and keep the torso upright - the load is still on the glutes.
I’m not sure which one to believe?
What do you think - does leaning forwards or staying upright during lunges and split squats lead to greater glute recruitment?