Variation is very important when you want to make changes to your physique and/or fitness level. Incorporating the Bulgarian Split Squat can make a real difference for your legs and glutes. The legs encompass big muscle groups, such as the gluteal muscles (glutes), the quadriceps (front of the leg), the hamstrings (muscles in the back of the leg), and the flexor group (lower leg). So, they have to be trained with different exercises and diverse planes of motion.
A wonderful leg exercise is the Bulgarian Split Squat is a single-leg unilateral squat where the back leg is elevated on a bench or step. Using a single leg at a time develops strength, and balance, as well as higher core and upper body engagement.
Benefits the Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS)
- Aesthetics: BSS sculpts your legs and glutes nicely.
- Strength: Working one leg at a time can build stronger legs, which can transfer to bilateral lower-body movements. It makes it highly advantageous when practicing sports too.
- Increased Flexibility & Mobility: This deeper movement increases the length of the hip joint’s range of motion, making it more flexible. In turn, it improves lower body mobility. Mobility restrictions when squatting due to past injuries, long femurs or long torsos, are not problematic when performing BSS.
- Correct Imbalances: Most people have muscular imbalances in their legs, and even arms, due to favoring one limb over the other. This happens due to previous injuries, athletic demands, or just bad habits. Training unilaterally can correct these imbalances, allowing both legs to be equally developed. This is important because imbalances tend to cause injuries over time.
- Stability: This single-leg exercise can improving stability. BSS puts additional demand on the core and stabilizer muscles, helping you to become more stable in unstable environments.
- Safer: Since you are using less weight, there is less stress on the spine which reduces the risk of injury.
- Less Equipment: You can achieve great results with a fraction of the weight since its harder to work each leg individually. You don’t need access to tons of heavyweight – great when traveling.
- Versatility: You can perform BSS in different ways. you can use your own body weight, a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, a weight plate, a hex bar, or the Smith machine. You can also change the platform where your back leg goes. Having a higher platform allows for a bigger range of motion and depth. On the other hand, a softer surface of the platform forces stabilization in the foot while a harder surface keeps you more sturdy. You can use a flat bench, a step, stability ball (this requires more balance), TRX rope, or simply a chair/ couch.
Avoid Bulgarian Split Squats Mistakes
- Bulgarian split squats are challenging and don’t require a lot of weight. Avoid going heavy at this extreme angle because you may not be able to return to your starting position and hurt yourself
- Keep the front leg on a 90-degree angle so that your knee doesn’t pass your toes, which prevents straining the knee
- Avoid keeping your shoulders forward and rounding your back, which put unnecessary stress on your back
Video: How to Do Bulgarian Split Squats
Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, gain strength or size, all muscles must be trained.
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