Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 Proven Benefits And How To Perform Bulgarian Split Squats


Leg day is not complete without the Bulgarian split-squat. A unilateral, functional compound movement, the Bulgarian single leg squat can help you build more muscle and strength in your legs and core. The split-squat places more emphasis on the quadriceps and requires a significant amount of balance and coordination. We’re going to discuss the Bulgarian split squat benefits, the dos, the don’ts and why you should be including this accessory strength movement into your leg-day training split.  

What Is The Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian-split squat is a single-leg squat variation. Compared to a traditional barbell squat, it removes all the pressure and load from your lower back, and places it directly into your legs. The stabilizing leg of the Bulgarian split-squat is elevated behind you, which allows greater range of motion and depth, to achieve greater muscle hypertrophy, and strength gains in your glutes and quadriceps. Bulgarian split squats are key for not only building a bigger barbell back squat, but for building quadriceps and glutes, midline stability, and it offers an awesome range of motion movement for the hip flexors. 

Bulgarian Split Squat Muscles Worked

The Bulgarian split squat puts more emphasis on a deeper and extended range of motion, stimulating the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. As a single-leg unilateral movement, the Bulgarian split squat forces your core to engage more heavily, to stabilize and balance your body when driving the load back up on the positive phase of the lift into your heel. It also activates your glutes, which can help build a bigger, more solid foundation in your legs, and quads. 

4 Proven Benefits Of Bulgarian Split Squats

1. Bulgarian Split Squats Build More Strength

Bulgarian split-squat is a great accessory training exercise to develop more power and lower-body strength in your quadriceps, glutes, and abdominals. Although it’s a compound movement, split-squats efficiently and effectively activates the quads and glutes, developing increasing muscle mass and strength.  

RELATED ARTICLE Best Bodyweight Exercises To Build Stronger Glutes

2. Bulgarian Split Squats Improve Balance And Coordination

Performed while standing on one leg, the Bulgarian split-squat can significantly improve your balance and coordination. Unilateral exercises, or exercises performed on one side, will actively engage your core. Your core is what keeps your body stable. Building more core strength, will effectively and efficiently advance other strength movements, maintain better posture, and ultimately improve your balance and coordination. Any time you perform a unilateral movement you also improve muscular imbalances. By correcting for muscular and postural imbalances, you can effectively reduce compensation, improving proper body alignment and avoiding potential injuries.

3. Bulgarian Split Squats Improve Mobility

The mechanical demand of the Bulgarian split squat focuses on the hip and knee flexors. Strengthening your mobility through accessory exercises like the Bulgarian split-squat will generate more power and force, to effectively improve bigger strength movements such as the squat, snatch, and clean. Athletes demand more hip, knee, and ankle mobility to perform advanced strength movements in exercise modalities such as CrossFit and High-intensity functional training. By adding accessory movements like the Bulgarian split-squat to your training program you can effectively enhance athletic performance outcomes.

RELATED ARTICLE 4 Accessory Strength Movements To Build A Stronger Squat

4. Bulgarian Split Squat Burns More Body Fat

More muscle burns more calories. The more of it you have, the more calories you burn while-at rest. The less of muscle you have, the less calories you burn. The easiest way to prevent your metabolism from declining and to increase it is by lifting weights. If you don’t lift weights, year after year your metabolism will continue to decline, which means if you want to keep a great physique year after year, you’ll have to continue to do more cardio and eat even less, which isn’t exactly a sustainable method for success.

Resistance training programs and strength movements like the Bulgarian split squat, will develop and build more muscle mass, thus increasing thermogenesis and burning more body fat. Including key leg exercises like the deadlift, squat, Bulgarian split-squat and Romanian deadlift to your working training split, will help you achieve the gains you need for your aesthetic and athletic goals

How To Perform Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart. with the right foot forward and the left foot placed back behind the body on a bench or box that is about knee-height, or just below knee height.
  • Keeping your shoulders stacked directly above your forward-facing hips, begin to descend into a lunging position. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in both hands in a vertical position hanging on each side of your body.
  • Keep your back straight while lowering your left knee towards the floor
  • Go as low as you can while still ensuring your chest is staying open and the front knee is not protruding out in front of your toes.
  • When your left knee lowers, press your right foot into the ground, pull back on the right knee, and push the top of the left foot into the box to return to standing.

Bulgarian Split Squat: Takeaway

If you want to build more muscle mass, strength, improve mobility, and develop bigger glutes and massive quads, Bulgarian split-squat is a must-have in your training program. With more functional accessory strength movements included in your training you'll also be able to develop more power and force, systematically improving athletic performance.

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