Bulgarian Split Squat

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Trainer Tip Tuesday

by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercises: Bulgarian Split Squat (Rear Foot Elevated)
Muscle Groups: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings
Importance: This squat variation can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells and allows for you to focus on building strength and stability in one leg at a time rather than the typical bilateral squat variations. It is a great way to build strength and stability in the lower half and core while also helping address imbalances from one side to the other.
 

Proper Form:

  1. Depending on how you choose to load this exercise, start by either unracking a loaded barbell as if you were doing a front or back squat or pick up a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your side
  2. Your feet should be about hip-width distance apart as you place the instep of your rear foot on a bench or step positioned behind you
  3. Once you are solid in balancing on your front foot, with your torso upright you should begin to lower your hips and bend at your front knee to sit into a one-legged squat
  4. Your rear knee should come close to the floor before pausing at the bottom position
  5. From the bottom position, push primarily through your front heel to drive yourself back up to the starting position by re-extending your front knee
  6. Once returning to the start position with an upright torso and the front leg extended, repeat for your desired number of reps
  7. Upon finishing your set, switch legs and repeat on the opposite side

Progression/Regression: Flat Ground Split Squats, Shrimp Squats
 

Tips:

  • Depending on how long your legs are, your front foot should be about 2.5-3.5 feet in front of the bench. Find your comfortable stance and mark it prior to loading the movement
  • Keep your torso upright
  • Be sure your front knee tracks over your foot and keep your weight heavy on the front foot

Sample Workout, 5 rounds:

  • 10 Bulgarian Split Squats (right)
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings
  • 10 Bulgarian Split Squats (left)
  • 10 Box Jumps