Bulgarian Split Squat Form, Muscles & Benefits
The Bulgarian split squat form can be difficult enough to manage if you are new to this fantastic exercise. Thankfully we have boiled it down to 4 simple steps below!
The split squat is a fantastic lower body exercise to use at home or in the Gym.
All you need to perform this exercise is your own body weight and a couch or bench to support your rear leg.
You may also want to use some external load in the form of dumbbells or weight plates as you progress with this challenging exercise.
The Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral exercise. Meaning it trains one leg at a time. This is great to not only target the quads and glutes like most other squatting movements but it also challenges your core control and balance.
The split squat is a “tough love” exercise. Although you will love the rewards of increased muscle, strength, and co-ordination these benefits are not easily earned.
It will take all of your will power and focus to complete a few sets of Bulgarian split squats, especially in the higher rep ranges.
Don’t believe me? try it yourself!
Bulgarian split squat form in 4 steps
Step 1: Set up
You will need enough space to step forward. Make sure there is nothing on the floor in front of you that might cause you to slip.
It is very important you wear appropriate footwear when completing this exercise.
You will also need a box, bench, or even a chair if you are training at home. It needs to be about knee height, and be safe to use for exercise. So no.. you cannot use your dog!
If you are not confident in your ability to complete at least one set on each leg you can set up beside additional support (not your dog!) which you place your hands on to assist your completion of difficult reps.
Step 2: Feet positioning
Standing with the back of our legs by the edge of your platform, start with hands placed on the hips, and your feet shoulder-width apart.
You will be stepping forward about 1.5x your normal stride length, this is to allow you enough space. You will begin by working your dominant side, so place the laces of the shoe of the supporting leg on the edge of your platform. Woof!
Step 3: Start of the Rep
Once you have your feet in position, shift your body weight onto the working leg and brace your core. Keep your chest up and pre-tense the muscles of your leg in advance of the exercise.
The forward foot will remain fully on the floor, but be aware as you shift your weight forward the rear foot will act in helping you keep your balance. If you feel pressure through the supporting legs hip, this is as a result of relying on the other leg to assist in the rep.
This should be minimized as much as possible.
Step 4: Completing the set
Drive the knee diagonally forward over the small toes, imagine your working leg as a spring, the movement should look as if you are sitting straight down onto your foot and compressing a spring.
We are aiming to keep our torso upright (a slight lean forward is okay and can assist with the activation of the glutes) and the working sides foot fully on the floor with the knee over the toes.
It can be difficult to achieve full depth on the first attempt. You should start by hitting a comfortable depth and build up from there.