Gym Shorts: Bulgarian Split Squat

New to the bulgarian split squat or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

How To Bulgarian Split Squat

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps

  • Set up
    • Place one foot a half-step forward of your hips
    • Place the other foot on a stable surface for balance
    • Can increase difficulty by holding a kettlebell, dumbbell, or even having a barbell on your back
  • Movement
    • Lower your hips straight down by bending forward knee
    • Back knee stops just above the floor
    • Maintain roughly upright torso (don’t bend at the waist)
    • Switch legs & do the same thing in reverse
    • Most of the weight stays on the front leg
    • Push through your heel to stand up

What Is the Bulgarian Split Squat & Why Do It?

The Bulgarian split squat is an exercise that works the quadriceps, hamstrings, an glutes primarily. Compared to the squat and deadlift, it is a unilateral exercise, so you stress one leg at a time.

Similar to a lunge, this exercise involves one leg forward and the other back and lowering your hips and then raising them. Unlike the lunge, you elevate the rear leg.

This exercise is a great way to provide additional stress to the lower body for advanced lifters or introduce novice lifters to training. It is a great exercise to execute for those who lack access to barbells or want to develop strength and confidence before using barbells.

Programming the Bulgarian Split Squat

Typically advanced lifters perform this exercise. The exception, as stated above, if for those novice or intermediate lifters who generally or suddenly (e.g. gyms close) lack access to barbells or would rather not begin barbell training quite yet.

Advanced lifters perform these for hypertrophic stress, so it typically comes at the end of a workout following the squat and deadlift variants. Perform these for 2-5 sets of 8-20 reps. These can be performed as part of a circuit to save time and add some conditioning.

Novice lifters perform these to build strength. Begin with low reps (3-8 reps) at bodyweight, and then increase the stress by adding reps or adding weight. For example, 3×5, 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 3×10, then return to 3×5 and hold a milk jug.

Execute these in a controlled movement. Don’t rush these.

Click HERE to read about summer accessory & conditioning work and HERE to see our short video on the forward lunge.

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