An Ultimate Guide to Bulgarian Split Squats

The Bulgarian split squats are a one-leg exercise that works your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. The Bulgarian split squat is an excellent workout for strengthening your quads, hip flexors, and posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and back). 

It’s simple to understand, load, and program; it’s completely safe when done right. Unlike the barbell squat, the Bulgarian split squat is a single-leg exercise that can help prevent and repair muscular imbalances. If you don’t enjoy it for any reason, you may always substitute one of several other exercises.

What Is The Purpose Of Performing Bulgarian Split Squats?

  • The Bulgarian split squats have several advantages. It strengthens the muscles of the legs, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as a lower body workout. Furthermore, as a single-leg exercise, your core is forced to work overtime to keep you balanced.
  • Although the Bulgarian split squat utilizes many of the same muscles as the standard squat, it is a favored workout for some.
  • A regular squat significantly strains the lower back, leading to injury. Still, the Bulgarian split squat eliminates the lower back, emphasizing the legs.
  • If you experience back pain — or even if you don’t! — this motion might be ideal for you.

What Are The Different Types of Bulgarian Split Squats?

The Bulgarian split squats are traditionally performed with a pair of dumbbells, although there are two versions to consider:

  • The Bulgarian split squat with a barbell. 

The barbell Bulgarian split squat is identical to the conventional one, except that a barbell is used instead of a pair of dumbbells. The benefits of a barbell include greater weight, not being restricted by your grip strength, and not having to handle both dumbbells separately. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to set up; it’s a little riskier (you can’t quickly drop the barbell if you get trapped), and it can be more challenging to maintain balance.

  • Bulgarian goblet split squat: 

The goblet Bulgarian split squat is similar to the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat, only you hold one dumbbell in front of your chest. This exercise is helpful if you have difficulty balancing two weights. The disadvantage is that you can’t use nearly as much weight as you can with a conventional dumbbell Bulgarian split squat. 

How to Perfectly Perform Bulgarian Split Squats?

  1. Begin by positioning yourself approximately 2 feet before a knee-level bench or step.
  2. Raise your right leg behind you and place your foot on the bench. Your feet should still be shoulder-width apart, and your right foot should be far enough in front of the bench so you can lunge quickly — bounce around a bit to find the proper location. If a closer foot position works for you, ensure that your left knee does not cross over your toes as you drop down.
  1. Roll your shoulders back and lean slightly forward at the waist, starting to descend on your left leg, bending the knee.
  2. When performing a quad-dominant Bulgarian split squat, just before your knee collides with your toes, pause when your left thigh is parallel to the floor when performing a glute-dominant Bulgarian split squat.
  1. To return to standing, push it up with your left foot, using the force of your quadriceps and hamstrings.
  2. Rep to this leg for the appropriate number of repetitions, then swap, bringing the left foot up on the bench. 
  3. If you’re new to Bulgarian split squats, begin with two sets of six to eight reps on each leg until you’re comfortable with the action and have gained some strength. 
  4. When you can efficiently complete three sets of 12 repetitions on each leg, you can probably add a light dumbbell in each hand for added resistance.

What Are The Common Mistakes To Avoid While Doing Bulgarian Split Squats?

  • Your front leg is not in a good position.
  • You don’t want your foot close to the bench, your knee collides with your toes, but you also don’t want it too far out.
  • Once you’ve determined the best location, mark the floor with a dumbbell or small plate as a reference for subsequent sets.
  • Your torso is not slanted.
  • Although keeping the chest up is a frequent signal for strength exercises, you want your body to be leaned forward somewhat for this action.
  • If you remain entirely upright, you will limit your range of motion.
  • Our knee will pop out before you’ve reached your maximum depth.
  • If this occurs, lower your waist till your torso forms a 30-degree angle, and try again.

Variations of Bulgarian Split Squats

Try adding resistance or props once you’ve perfected the bodyweight Bulgarian split squats on a bench.

  1. Barbell Complete the same action with a barbell on your trap and shoulders. Take care when you place your foot behind you to avoid losing your balance due to the extra weight.
  2. While performing a Bulgarian split squat, grasp a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. This weighted variant will be simpler to perform than the barbell variation, but your grip strength will restrict you.
  3. Smith machine The Smith machine, often an aided squat machine, allows you to test your power comfortably in a Bulgarian split squat. Set the crossbar at shoulder level, then go beneath and unhook it before completing the action.
  4. Exercise ball adding an unstable surface to your Bulgarian split squat, such as a gym ball (often known as a yoga or workout ball), adds a new difficulty.
  5. Use the ball instead of a bench. You’ll have to work harder to maintain your balance and stability as you squat. A ring of resistance: Bend your elbows and hold the handlebars up at your shoulders while you place a resistance band beneath your front foot. Squat down while holding on to the strength training handles.


The Bulgarian Squats squat is among the most effective workouts for building your lower body. You can do dumbbells or a barbell, but most individuals prefer dumbbells. It’s simple to understand, load, and program; it’s completely safe when done right. If you have back pain, the conventional dumbbell split squat is a reasonable alternative to the barbell back squat.

It’s also useful if you need to squat but don’t have access to something like a barbell for any reason. The Bulgarian split squat is analogous to the barbell single-leg squat and the dumbbell and barbell lunge. However, it allows for a slightly broader range of motion and more weight than the single-leg squat.