Learn the proper way to execute a Bulgarian split squat, what muscles they work, what weight to use, and what exercise variations to try — all in this article!
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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do a Bulgarian Split Squat
Step 1: Do Some Dynamic Stretching
Before busting out some Bulgarian split squats, fitness buffs should first do some dynamic stretching exercises to warm up the entire body. This includes simple exercises such as high knees, jumping jacks, and burpees.
Doing a few of these before setting up for a Bulgarian split squat allows a person to achieve a wider range of motion and carry a much heavier load. If this is the first time doing this exercise, opt for a light load or even none at all.
Step 2: Set Up the Bench
Find a knee-high flat bench or platform to place a foot on. Make sure to place the dumbbells or barbell nearby so you can start doing some reps right away,
Step 3: Get into Position
Learning the proper Bulgarian split squat form is very important to maximize its benefits and avoid injuries. Do not attempt to do this exercise without properly positioning yourself.
First, grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand or place a loaded bar across the shoulders behind the neck. Next, face away from the bench, lean forward just a bit, and then place the left foot on top of the bench.
Make sure the leading leg is about half a meter away from the bench. Also, be sure to stabilize your footing to avoid going out of balance in the middle of a Bulgarian split squat rep.
This will be the starting position.
Step 4: Lower the Body
Once you’re in the proper position, it’s time to do some Bulgarian split squats. Lower the body down by bending the right knee until the right thigh is parallel to the floor.
Make sure the right knee is directly above the right foot and that it would not go past the toes. Lowering the body down too much and too fast might lead to an injury.
Step 5: Lift the Body Up
Next, drive the leading leg’s heel through the floor to push the body back up to the starting position. Remember to maintain a slow, controlled movement to avoid swaying side to side. This is one rep.
Step 6: Repeat
Repeat the movements for three to four sets of 6 to 10 reps per leg.
Why Should You Do the Bulgarian Split Squat?
The Bulgarian split squat is an intense exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hip flexors. These are all important muscles for fitness buffs who want to improve their physical aesthetics, athletic performance, and muscle strength.
It’s an intermediate level move that requires both strength and balance. As such, you cannot simply lift heavy weights without having the ability to balance the body on one leg.
When performing Bulgarian split squats, fitness buffs can opt to use dumbbells, barbells, or even kettlebells. Gym-goers should start by using their own bodyweight first until they master the move.
The Proper Form
Observing the proper form is very important if you want to maximize the results of their training. Also, improper posture may lead to back, knee, and hip pain.
The first thing gym-goers need to do when positioning their body is to find the right footing. Find a position that doesn’t strain any body part.
Keep in mind that standing too close to the bench will overexert the quads. Meanwhile, standing too far away may place unnecessary stress on the hip flexors.
Also, fitness buffs should try experimenting with a weight they’re comfortable with. Remember that this isn’t a simple squat so you shouldn’t try lifting their barbell squat PR right off the bat.
PR Definition: The abbreviation stands for personal record. It indicates the heaviest weight one can lift on a specific exercise.
Bulgarian Split Squat Variations
Is the basic Bulgarian split squat too easy? Then try out these variations that will challenge your strength, endurance, stamina, and balance.
1. Gym Ball Bulgarian Split Squat
Gym Ball Bulgarian Split Squat GIF by Giphy
What makes split squats so hard to do is the fact that a person has to balance on only one leg. On top of that, fitness buffs can only use one leg at a time when pushing their body up.
But after a while, all these will eventually become too easy for regular gym-goers. So if you’re looking for a challenge, then try the gym ball Bulgarian split squat.
Instead of using a platform or bench, fitness buffs will be using a large gym ball. Using an unstable ball makes it twice as hard to balance the body.
Make sure not to use any dumbbells or barbells when trying out this variation for the first time.
2. Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps GIF by Giphy
Fitness buffs who want to increase their lower body’s explosive power can try Bulgarian split squat jumps. These are intense HIIT exercises that trigger fat loss, increase muscle mass, and improve overall strength.
HIIT Definition: The term HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. These are exercises that consist of fast-paced movements with short, active rests in between sets. Some examples are high knees, burpees, and sprinting.
First, start with a regular Bulgarian split squat position. Next, lower the body down as one normally would and then jump as high as possible without removing the rear foot from the bench.
The goal of this exercise is to create fast-paced, explosive movements with very little rest in between sets. Also, fitness buffs shouldn’t use weights for this since it is a bodyweight exercise.
Watch this video to learn an easy technique on how to do a Bulgarian split squat from ScottHermanFitness:
These are basically all the things gym-goers need to know about performing a Bulgarian split squat. To maximize the results of this exercise, fitness buffs should combine them with other intense leg exercises.
Create a solid leg day workout routine and perform them at least one to two times every week. Of course, you should also follow the right diet and take the right supplements if you want to achieve any real progress.
Will you incorporate the Bulgarian split squat into your routine? Share your thoughts in the comments section down below!
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