How To Do A Bulgarian Split Squat – Benefits, Proper Form, And Tips

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: June 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
How To Do A Bulgarian Split Squat

Are you looking for a new exercise to add to your workout routine?

The Bulgarian split squat, also known as the rear foot elevated split squat, is a lower-body exercise that strengthens your quads and glutes while helping build single leg stability.

This move isn’t just perfect for those interested in bodybuilding – because it’s low impact, anyone who wants to get stronger and improve their overall fitness can benefit from this powerful yet easy-to-learn movement.

In this blog post, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to do a Bulgarian Split Squat properly – plus highlight best practices and tips for getting the most out of your reps!

Muscles worked during Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great exercise to strengthen legs and improve lower body stability. It activates different muscles in both legs at the same time – making it a great way to push yourself and improve flexibility.

The quads work hard to keep the knee joints stable as you move. The glutes take on the load for hip extension and help the other leg stay balanced. The calf muscles help you plant your foot and keep balance as you lower into a split-squat position. Your hamstrings also get a workout as you slide around on the floor.

The compound nature of the exercise makes it great for targeting individual muscles. It can help with lagging muscle mass and stabilization.

Although it may seem daunting, the Bulgarian Split Squat is easy to learn, even for beginners. It was invented by Stoyan Deltchevwa in the 1990s for injured Bulgarian Olympic weightlifters. It involves placing one foot on an elevated surface behind the lifter, flexing the front leg before dropping down to or below parallel.

Benefits of Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a much-loved leg exercise that can bring big changes in your fitness. This squat type focuses on certain muscle groups, bringing particular advantages to the body. Let’s look into some of these!

  • Improves Balance: The Bulgarian Split Squat is a unilateral exercise. It improves balance and stability, working each leg separately.
  • Tones legs: With this squat, quads, hams and glutes are targeted at the same time. This makes them toned and much stronger. This helps with activities like jumping, running and sprinting.
  • Reduces Muscle Imbalance: Training each leg separately with this squat lessens the possibility of developing muscle imbalance. It also strengthens one leg independently from the other, cutting down the risk of injury when doing sports or weightlifting.

On top of that, Bulgarian Split Squats are adjustable to different fitness levels. They challenge your muscles but let you adjust difficulty as necessary.

If you want to do this exercise properly, here are some tips for you:

  • Use dumbbells or kettlebells if you’re holding weight above.
  • Keep your upper body upright.
  • Make sure your front knee stays over your toes throughout the movement.
  • Shoulders back and down, away from ears.

Adding Bulgarian Split Squats to your routine will likely lead to better physical health. Balance, flexibility and strength will be improved, while targeting multiple muscles at once!

How To Do A Bulgarian Split Squat: A Step-by-Step Guide

This guide will walk you through the proper technique for performing Bulgarian split squats.

Equipment Needed:

  1. Bench, box, or sturdy surface for elevating your rear foot
  2. Optional: Dumbbells or kettlebells for added resistance

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Set up the equipment: Position the bench or box behind you, ensuring it is stable and secure. If using dumbbells or kettlebells, have them within reach.
  2. Starting position: Stand facing away from the bench with your feet hip-width apart. Pick up the dumbbells or kettlebells if you’re using them, holding one in each hand by your sides.
  3. Elevate your rear foot: Lift your right foot off the ground and place it on the bench behind you, with the top of your foot resting on the surface. Your left foot should remain flat on the ground, positioned far enough in front of the bench to allow for proper squat form.
  4. Engage your core: Before beginning the squat, engage your core by tightening your abdominal muscles. This will help maintain stability throughout the movement and protect your lower back.
  5. Lower your body: Begin the squat by bending your left knee and lowering your body straight down, ensuring your left knee stays aligned with your toes and doesn’t extend past them. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and gaze forward as you descend.
  6. Reach the bottom position: Continue lowering your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground or as low as your flexibility allows. Your right knee should be hovering just above the floor.
  7. Pause briefly: At the bottom of the squat, pause briefly while maintaining engagement in your leg and core muscles.
  8. Rise back up: Push through your left heel and straighten your left leg to return to the starting position. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged throughout the ascent.
  9. Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions on your left leg, then switch to your right leg and repeat the exercise.

Proper form and technique for Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squats are a great compound exercise for the lower body muscles. To do this move with proper form: stand upright, lift one foot behind and place it on a bench or step. Step forward with the other leg and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight and knee over toes.

Pause briefly before driving through your heel to return to the standing position. Complete all reps on one side, then switch. Make sure feet are stable and supported, and breathe deeply while engaging your core.

Remember to maintain good form to prevent common mistakes such as extending the knee too far past the toes or arching the lower back. To maximize benefits, add weights to the routine, like dumbbells or kettlebells, or try variations like holding a weight plate or lifting one arm overhead. Don’t miss out on muscle growth – add Bulgarian Split Squats to your workout today!

Tips for performing Bulgarian Split Squat effectively

Performing Bulgarian Split Squats requires proper form and muscle utilization. Stand with one leg behind you, toes resting on an elevated surface. Bend front leg until it forms a 90-degree angle, then straighten it to return to starting position.


  • Focus on form, not speed.
  • Engage and maintain tight core.
  • Align knee with toes for joints protection.
  • Start with low bench, then gradually increase height as strength and flexibility grow.

Both sides of the body may vary in strength and limitations. Don’t give up if one is more challenging than the other. Adding weights or resistance bands to exercise can increase difficulty. But don’t sacrifice form for weight.

Once, a friend did Bulgarian Split Squats with incorrect form and experienced severe knee pain afterward. So, if you’re not sure about the technique, get help from a professional trainer. Bulgarian Split Squats can strengthen lower body muscles, enhance balance, and flexibility – just stay safe while training!

Common mistakes that people make while performing Bulgarian Split Squat

Making mistakes with Bulgarian Split Squat is common. But, focus on form and you can get great results with little risk of injury. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

  1. Align your front knee with the ankle. The back knee should point down.
  2. Distribute body weight evenly on both legs.
  3. Keep your spine straight and use your core. Don’t round your shoulders or tilt forward.
  4. Lower your thigh till it’s parallel to the ground.

Remember to breathe deeply and move steadily. With commitment, you can master this exercise and get its rewards – more mobility, strength, and stability. Start today!

Variations of Bulgarian Split Squat to try out

Ready to shake up your lower body workout? Try out these Bulgarian Split Squat variations!

  • Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: Place your front foot on an elevated surface for a bigger range of motion.
  • Weighted Bulgarian Split Squat: Hold dumbbells or a barbell to add resistance.
  • Rear Foot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: Place your rear foot on an elevated surface for an even tougher challenge.

For more of a challenge, experiment with different loads, tempos, unilateral and bilateral sets. Remember to warm-up first and adjust as needed to maintain proper form.

Don’t miss out on the benefits! Add some Bulgarian Split Squat variations to your next workout routine!

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