How to Do Bulgarian Split Squats
- Stand with your back turned against a bench, which should be at about knee-height. Stand about one long step in front of the bench.
- Place one foot on the bench behind you.
- Inhale, look forward, and squat down with control until right before the knee of the back leg touches the floor.
- Reverse the movement and extend your front leg again, while exhaling.
- Inhale at the top and repeat for reps.
The Bulgarian split squat is a great unilateral (one-sided) exercise for strengthening your leg muscles and improving your coordination and balance.
You can perform this exercise without any external load, with weights in your hands (i.e. dumbbells or kettlebells), against your chest, or with a barbell on your shoulders. By holding the weights in your hand, you can unload your spine while still training your legs and glutes effectively, which can be useful to maintain your training during times of injury.
Benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat
- Build muscle and strength. The Bulgarian split squat works your quads, glutes, and adductors through a long range of motion and in a stable position. That is a great recipe for muscle growth!
- Prevent muscle imbalance. Since you work with one leg at a time, the Bulgarian split squat can be used to find and fix muscle imbalances. Work to bring your weak side up until it matches the other side.
- Build strength in a staggered position. Having strong legs not only makes you a better athlete, but it is also useful in the day-to-day of an active lifestyle. How do we often use our legs in athletics or other activities? That’s right: one leg at a time. The Bulgarian split squat offers a great addition to your regular squat training by making you train in a single leg position that resembles taking a stride, making a leap, or climbing up a hill.
- Improve coordination and balance. We often take balance for granted – until we lose it. By training the Bulgarian split squat, you can improve your coordination and balance tremendously.
- Better knee control. Lack of knee control in sports is an injury waiting to happen. The Bulgarian split squat is one of the most effective exercises for training your positional awareness and control of your knee.
- Unload your spine. Want to work your leg muscles without loading your back? With the Bulgarian split squat, you can work your leg and glute muscles without having to put a heavy barbell over your shoulders.
Text and graphics from the StrengthLog app.