Bulgarian Split Squats: One of the Best Variations of Squats that Can Lead to Great Results

During workout regimes, there is the inevitability of having favorite exercises. Some people fall in love with burpees, sprints, deadlifts, bench press, and more. Among these favorites is the Bulgarian Split Squat. This exercise merits the designation of one of the most versatile exercises in existence and is therefore recommended for everyone.

Found in many workout regimes, the Bulgarian Split Squat is an exercise that combines both a squat with a lunge and is very effective in working the rectus femoris, iliopsoas (hip flexor), gluteals, hamstrings, adductors, and quadriceps muscles. This exercise is probably more familiar to those who are versed in the calisthenics system of exercises. Applying this exercise to weightlifting is a great way to add variety to your workout. The following is a tutorial that will take you through the steps of performing this exercise.


What is the Bulgarian Split Squat?

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a squat variation in which one leg is elevated on a platform while the other executes a squat while bearing the majority of the load.

This single-leg unilateral exercise works the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings like no other leg exercise because of the split stance.

It is an activity designed for intermediate to advanced level athletes who have more control and body awareness, although novices can also execute Bulgarian Split Squats without weights on a lower elevated surface to develop these attributes.


Benefits of doing Bulgarian Split Squats

There are numerous advantages to including Bulgarian Split Squats into your training; not only do you work all of the muscles targeted by a regular squat, but you also improve your single leg strength and gain balance and control due to the difficulty of this exercise.

The Bulgarian Split Squat, as a unilateral action, is excellent for identifying and correcting any imbalances in your lower body. This will then translate to compound lifts, where you will be less likely to compensate with your stronger side.

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a terrific workout for building muscle and strength, but it can also improve ankle and hip mobility if done regularly. Furthermore, if done with weights, it will improve your core strength and general stability, reinforcing your midline.

Building strength with the Bulgarian Split Squat will transfer to other types of squats and can assist you in breaking through strength plateaus.


Bulgarian Split Squat form

To begin, all you’ll need is a firm elevated surface. As you advance, you may want to incorporate dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a barbell. The proper way to do a Bulgarian Split Squat is as follows:

  1. Begin by stepping your back foot back onto an elevated surface, the top of your foot resting on top of the bench, plates, or whatever you’re using as a step. Your front foot should be roughly two feet away from the bench.
  2. The bench height in the Bulgarian Split Squat should be low at first – around 4″ – and gradually increased as your hip flexibility, strength, and balance develop. A normal height is between 8 and 10 inches.
  3. Descent under control until your back knee meets or comes close to contacting the ground, with your entire body looking straight ahead with your core engaged and your torso upright. The majority of the weight should be distributed over the front foot (about 80%), with the remainder distributed over the back foot (approximately 20%).
  4. Your front knee should trail your front toes; ensure sure it isn’t caving in to the sides and isn’t too far ahead of your toes. Also, make sure the descent is controlled; you should be able to reach the bottom of the workout in a second or two.
  5. You can choose whether to perform the Bulgarian Split Squat with or without external weights; all of the options are discussed further below.
  6. To get back to a standing position, drive through the heel of your front foot. Throughout the workout, keep your torso upright and your spine in a neutral position.
  7. After a few reps, switch legs and repeat.


Common faults

  • Lifting the front heel: Throughout the exercise, keep your front foot flat on the floor and your heel grounded. To correct this error, move your front leg closer to the higher surface.
  • Driving through the rear leg: This exercise should primarily engage your front leg, with the back leg serving merely to provide support and balance. Make sure you’re lifting the majority of your weight with your front leg.
  • Tipping forward: maintain an upright upper body angle throughout the process. If you’re leaning forward, you may need to change your leg posture or lessen the weight you’re attempting to lift.
  • Using an unsuitable surface: there’s no reason to elevate your back foot too far up, and your technique will suffer as a result.


Bulgarian Split Squat Muscles worked

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a lower-body exercise that focuses on the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, abductor muscles, and calves.

This exercise also works your stomach muscles and spinal erectors.

The Bulgarian Split Squat targets somewhat different muscles depending on where you set your feet, as well as the weight you use and how you hold it. Standing near to your elevated surface will emphasize your quadriceps (though you should be cautious of your knees), while standing further away will put greater strain on your hip flexors.

Holding weights above your chest, such in an overhead or back- or front-loaded Bulgarian Split Squat, will put more demand on your core muscles.


Bulgarian Split Squat variations

While the leg stance in the Bulgarian Split Squat is essentially the same, you can grip the weights in a variety of ways to alter the exercise. You have two options:

  • Hold two dumbbells at your sides.
  • Place a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell against your chest (front loaded Bulgarian Split Squat)
  • Maintain a barbell behind your back (back loaded Bulgarian Split Squat)
  • Hold a weight above your head.

All of these modifications and their advantages will be discussed more below.


Two Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat

This dumbbell version, often known as a suitcase Bulgarian Split Squat, adds weight to both arms. Holding two dumbbells to your sides while performing the exercise improves muscular balance on both sides of the body.

The suitcase Bulgarian Split Squat can also be done with kettlebells or any other weight held by your sides.


Front loaded Bulgarian Split Squat

As with a Goblet Squat, you’d hold a weight by your chest with both hands for this variant. You can also utilize a barbell in a crossed-arm position or in the front rack posture.

Adding this weight to your Bulgarian Split Squat can help with stability and will put more stress on your core muscles than a regular bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat. Tighten your core to prevent your back from rounding.


Back loaded Bulgarian Split Squat

To increase the difficulty of the workout, place a barbell on your shoulders and repeat the movement. For this variant, you must be careful to keep your body erect throughout the exercise, as the extra weight on your back may cause you to tilt your chest forward.


Overhead Bulgarian Split Squat

This form of the exercise, in which the participant holds a weight overhead, emphasizes the midline more than any other variation. The core strength needed to do an overhead Bulgarian Split Squat is unparalleled.

As a result, you may not be able to lift the heaviest weights with this variation, but it is a very advanced exercise that may be incorporated in your full-body training.


Bulgarian Split Squat workouts

To incorporate the Bulgarian Split Squat into your training routine, try the following workouts.


Workout 1

4 rounds (2 rounds each side) :45 work / :15 rest – Bulgarian Split Squat – Single-Leg Deadlift – Single-Leg Step Up – Side Lunge – Single-Leg Hip Thrust 1 minute total rest between rounds


Workout 2

AMRAP in 22 minutes From 0:00-10:00, AMRAP of: – 35 Double-Unders – 15/15 Bulgarian Split Squats – 5 Devil Presses (2×50/35 lb) Rest 2 minutes From 12:00-22:00, AMRAP of: – 35 Double-Unders – 15/15 Bulgarian Split Squats – 5 Devil Presses (2×50/35 lb)

Workout by NCFit.


Workout 3

5 Rounds for Time: – 20 Air Squats – 20 Alternating Lunges – 10/10 Bulgarian Split Squats – 10 Squat Jumps


Benefits of doing the different variations of Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are a type of exercise that targets the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also helps to improve balance and stability. This is because it requires a person to have their feet in two different positions at the same time.

There are many benefits associated with doing Bulgarian split squats. One such benefit is that it improves balance and stability. This is because the person has their feet in two different positions at the same time. Another benefit of doing this type of exercise is that it targets the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also helps to increase bone density in these areas which can help prevent osteoporosis as well as other bone related diseases like arthritis or joint pain.

Another benefit that can be gained from doing the Bulgarian Split Squat is that it can help to reduce stress levels and improve mood. There are many ways that can be done to modify the Bulgarian split squat. One such modification is doing a modified Bulgarian split squat by placing a block under the feet which raises them up. This helps to increase the amount of weight that can be lifted due to gravity as well as helps with balance, coordination, and mobility.

Another modification is to place a weight plate on the chest, which raises the torso and helps with balance, coordination, and mobility. This can result in improving upper body power and strength.

The Bulgarian split squat can be modified in many ways including by placing a weight plate on the back of the neck. Another way is by performing a push-up as you are performing a Bulgarian split squat. This helps to add more stability to the exercise.

The Bulgarian split squat is similar to the back leg elevated split squat, but with a greater emphasis on quadriceps and glutes.

The movement can be described as a side-to-side jump of the hips while remaining upright. This movement is best done with the back foot elevated on a bench or box to reduce low- back stress. The thighs are lifted up and away from the ground by pushing off the floor with one foot. This can result in a positive impact on range of motion and power.


Disadvantages of Bulgarian Split Squats

There are many reasons why Bulgarian split squats might not be the best exercise for your fitness routine. This is because of the fact that it uses too much rotation of the hips, which can lead to a muscle strain injury. Additionally, this exercise may not be appropriate for beginners who might lack the strength and stability needed to perform this movement properly.

Aside from these reasons, the overuse of this exercise can also be bad for you. The reason behind this is that it can lead to a space between the bones in the hips and knees. The Bulgarian Split Squat exercise must only be done in moderation and no more than two times a week.

For bodybuilders who incorporate Bulgarian Split squats in their training regimes, it is important to keep in mind that this exercise can negatively impact their results if done wrong. This is why it is important to make sure that when doing Bulgarian Split Squats , the form is followed to not put unnecessary stress on the body.


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