What is a Bulgarian split squat?
Bulgarian split squats are a variant of squats. It is a single-leg squat in which one leg is resting on an elevated surface in the back. This squat exercise requires a large amount of balance as all your weight will be felt on one leg, and the stretch from the squat will also be felt on the same leg.
Thus, it would help if you had balance while doing this exercise. If it feels hard to maintain balance, then first start with air squats. They are the best squat to learn balance.
This exercise mainly targets your front leg as the back leg resting on the elevated surface is only for providing a little support.
Benefits of Bulgarian split squats:
The benefits that you can get from doing the Bulgarian split squats are given below:
● Targets lower body:
This exercise targets your lower body by engaging your glutes, calves, spinal erectors, quads, hamstrings, and abdominals. Thus, this is an ideal exercise for your legs and butt day.
● Focuses on the quadriceps muscle and core:
Besides targeting your lower body, this exercise puts more focus on the quadriceps muscles and core.
● Targets one side of the body at once:
This exercise allows you to focus solely on one side of your body while allowing the other part to rest. This can be of help when you are feeling pain in one leg. At this time, you can enable your painful leg to relax and exercise the other leg.
● Improves balance:
This exercise also aids you in learning the art of balancing as all your bodyweight weight is shifted to one leg. This makes it harder to squat and balance with the same leg. Thus, don’t feel bad if you are unable to do this exercise initially, you will do it gradually.
● Improves agility:
This exercise also helps you in improving flexibility. It also makes your core stable. This is important since it allows you to keep your balance when you are knocked off balance.
How to do a Bulgarian split squat?
These steps given below are for performing a basic version of the Bulgarian split squat:
- Place a bench or any other elevated surface at a two-foot distance from you or at a space where your knee must be swinging in the air when you place your leg.
- Stand straight with your back and neck erect, eyes looking directly in the distance.
- Place your left leg on the elevated surface, shifting your body weight on your right leg. Maintaining a perfect distance and posture is hard in this exercise. It will require some trial and error to find the right position that fits you.
- Your hands should be clasped in front of you.
- Now, bend your right knee until your right thigh becomes parallel to the floor.
- While doing this, your left leg should naturally bend, your left knee almost touching the floor.
- Stay there for 10 seconds.
- Return to your initial position.
- Repeat this with the other leg.
Try to do around ten reps of this exercise initially. Then, gradually, start increasing the reps and sets both. Do as much as you can, do not force.
Common mistakes to look out for:
- Placing your back leg directly in front of your front can cause your balance to tumble, and you might fall. Your legs must be positioned at a safe distance from each other. However, remember not to place them too far away as that will also imbalance you.
- People tend to rise on their toes while doing this exercise. This can imbalance you and injure you. So, don’t rise onto your toes.
- Don’t allow your front knee to lose alignment. This can put too much stress on a single muscle and can cause a muscle injury.
- Don’t lean your body too much away from the hips. This can cause excessive stress on your front knee.
- Do not engage your back leg in this exercise. That leg is only there to help with balance. The back leg should be in a full resting position while you are doing this exercise.
Modifications and variations to the Bulgarian split squat:
After you have mastered this basic version of the Bulgarian split squat, you can further challenge yourself by adding weight to this exercise. For this, you can hold dumbbells or kettlebells in your hand. Moreover, to further increase the difficulty level, you can place a barbell (loaded or unloaded) on your shoulders while doing this exercise.