Barbell One Leg Squat: Simple Guidelines For Building Your Quads

If you’re struggling to break through a plateau in your leg strength training, chances are you’re familiar with the barbell one leg squat. This challenging exercise is an effective way to target your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, but it can be tough to master. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people find that their form suffers or they struggle to maintain balance during this exercise. The good news is that with the right guidance and technique, you can supercharge your lower body workouts and take your fitness goals to the next level. In this post, we’ll explore tips and tricks for perfecting the barbell one leg squat to help you see results and avoid injury.

Barbell One Leg Squat Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Quadriceps
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Magnus, Gluteus Maximus, and Soleus
  • Equipment: Barbell and Bench
  • Mechanics Type: Compound
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Barbell One Leg Squat Instructions

  • The one barbell one leg squat, AKA the Bulgarian half squat is a stationary lunge done with your back foot elevated on a platform.
  • The challenging part of one leg squats is the setup. Get in place in front of your bench or elevated platform with your barbell on your shoulders, ready to squat.
  • Now, while balancing on one foot reach back an brace your other leg on the bench.
  • Squat down using your front leg, until that knee is near 90°.
  • Then, press back up until your front leg is straight. You want to minimize the use of your back leg for anything but stabilizing your body.
  • Complete one set on your first leg and then switch legs to complete a full set.

Video Tutorial

How to Do Barbell Single Leg Squats

Barbell One Leg Squat Muscles

Target (Agonist)


Dynamic Stabilizers


Antagonist Stabilizers

Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the barbell one leg squat exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Barbell One Leg Squat

The Barbell One Leg Squat is an excellent exercise to include in a strength training or fitness routine as it has many benefits. The primary muscle group targeted by this exercise is the quadriceps, which is the muscle group in the front of your thigh. This exercise helps to develop strength and stability in the quadriceps and is also great for improving balance, coordination, and proprioception. Additionally, this exercise can help to reduce the risk of injuries in the lower body due to its ability to increase flexibility and improve joint stability. As a result, incorporating this exercise into your routine can help you to become stronger and more injury-resistant.

Tips for Performing Barbell One Leg Squat

Before getting into the tips, it’s important to note that proper form is key to any exercise. When doing a barbell one leg squat, make sure to keep your core engaged, back flat, and chest up. This will help you to maintain balance and stability throughout the exercise, while also engaging all the right muscles.

  • Utilize A Cage With The Appropriately Established Safety Bars. With good safety, you will be able to motivate yourself further and your pump will go up.
  • greatly reduce soreness by executing a few minutes of cardio directed at your target muscles to finish your session. This cardio is removing most of the lactic acid. In turn, you will be minimizing your recovery time.
  • Maintain A Weight Training Log. You ought to maintain a record of every single weight, sets, and reps. When you are brilliant you will also make a note of your rest periods. Now there are plenty of nice apps to use a record, or you could simply try a little notebook.
  • Focus On The Way You Breath. For this and most workouts, breathing is important. You have to be exhaling out during your primary muscle flexing and inhaling when the primary muscle group is extending.

Benefits and Tips Video

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Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

Although the barbell one leg squat is a great exercise for building strength, balance and agility, it is important to be aware of the common mistakes that can be made while doing it. To get the most out of your workout and avoid any potential injuries, make sure to avoid these mistakes listed below.

  • You Can’t Omit Recovery Times. Overtraining may in fact help make you less strong in lieu stronger.
  • You Must Not Neglect Any Discomfort. Tender muscle tissue and injury pain are not the same. Once you identify serious pain when you are doing exercises you need to stop, or you will simply mhelp make the injury worse yet.
  • Try Not To begin using improper form. Inappropriate technique might be the fast path to experience an accident.

Find More Barbell Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

There are a variety of variations, complementary, and alternative exercises for the exercise Barbell One Leg Squat. These exercises target similar muscles as the Barbell One Leg Squat, but provide different ways of engaging those muscles. Here are some examples:

Split Squat

Graphic image of Split Squat.

Split squats are an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the barbell one leg squat. Unlike the barbell one leg squat, which is a unilateral exercise, the split squat is a bilateral exercise that works both legs at once. Split squats involve standing with one foot forward and one foot back, then bending both knees simultaneously to lower your body until your back knee almost touches the floor. This exercise works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings of both legs equally. Additionally, split squats are an effective way to increase balance and stability.

Smith Machine Split Squat

Graphic image of Smith Machine Split Squat.

The Smith Machine Split Squat is a great complementary or alternative exercise for the Barbell One Leg Squat. The Smith Machine Split Squat is an exercise that can be done in a split stance, which helps to target the lower body muscles more effectively. It also helps to build balance and stability, as well as improve the range of motion in the legs and hips. The Smith Machine Split Squat is great for those who want to increase the difficulty of their leg workouts, and it can help to prevent overuse injuries from performing traditional squats.

Dumbbell Split Squat

Graphic image of Dumbbell Split Squat.

The Dumbbell Split Squat is a great complement or alternative to the Barbell One Leg Squat. This exercise works both the lower and upper body, targeting the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. The split squat also helps to build balance and stability as you move the dumbbells from side to side. It’s a great way to add variety to your workouts and challenge your body in different ways.

Check Out These Top Barbell Exercises

Dumbbell Romanian Split Squat

Graphic image of Dumbbell Romanian Split Squat.

The Dumbbell Romanian Split Squat is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Barbell One Leg Squat. It can help strengthen the same muscles as the Barbell One Leg Squat but with a different range of motion. The Dumbbell Romanian Split Squat helps to target the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings, while also engaging the core muscles. This exercise can be done with a single dumbbell or two, depending on your level of fitness and preference. As with the Barbell One Leg Squat, proper form is essential when performing this exercise to avoid injury.

Barbell Side Split Squat

Graphic image of Barbell Side Split Squat.

The Barbell Side Split Squat is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Barbell One Leg Squat. It targets the same major muscle groups while also increasing balance and stability. This exercise is performed by holding a barbell in front of the body, taking a large step out to the side, and lowering the hips into a deep squat position. The back foot should be kept flat on the floor, and the chest should be kept tall throughout the movement. The Barbell Side Split Squat can be incorporated into any leg day workout as an effective way to enhance strength and balance.

Sled One Leg Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled One Leg Hack Squat.

The Sled One Leg Hack Squat is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Barbell One Leg Squat. It is an effective lower body exercise that works the same muscle groups as the Barbell One Leg Squat, with the added bonus of being a low-impact exercise. The Sled One Leg Hack Squat allows you to adjust the load and intensity of the exercise to suit your individual needs, making it suitable for all levels of fitness. Additionally, by performing the Sled One Leg Hack Squat with one leg instead of two, you can target each side of the body individually, helping to improve muscle balance and symmetry.

Find More Legs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In order to maximize the benefits of Barbell One Leg Squat, it is important to also include exercises that target opposing muscle groups. This will ensure that your muscles are being worked equally and help prevent any imbalances in strength. Below are a list of exercises that complement Barbell One Leg Squat by working opposing muscle groups.

Dumbbell Lunge

Graphic image of Dumbbell Lunge.

The Dumbbell Lunge is a great way to complement the exercise Barbell One Leg Squat, as it works the opposing muscle group in the legs. Specifically, the Dumbbell Lunge targets the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps while the Barbell One Leg Squat focuses on the quads. The Dumbbell Lunge provides balance and stability to the body while also strengthening the core muscles. This exercise is beneficial for improving posture, balance and coordination, which is important when performing a Barbell One Leg Squat. By incorporating both of these exercises into your routine, you will have a well-rounded lower body workout.

Dumbbell Rear Lunge

Graphic image of Dumbbell Rear Lunge.

The Dumbbell Rear Lunge is a great complementary exercise to the Barbell One Leg Squat. It works the opposing muscle group in a different way, focusing on your hamstrings, glutes and core. While the Barbell One Leg Squat works the quadriceps, the Dumbbell Rear Lunge puts more emphasis on the posterior chain muscles, helping to build strength and stability. The use of the dumbbell allows you to increase or decrease the resistance to suit your fitness level, and it’s a great way to add variety to your workout routine.

Dumbbell Walking Lunges

Graphic image of Dumbbell Walking Lunges.

Dumbbell Walking Lunges are a great complementary exercise to Barbell One Leg Squats. This exercise works the opposite muscle group of the Barbell One Leg Squat, as it focuses on strengthening the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. The Dumbbell Walking Lunge works by having you hold a dumbbell in each hand, step one foot forward into a lunge position, and then return back to the starting position. This exercise will help increase strength in the lower body while also helping to improve stability and balance.

Unlock Your Leg Power Today

Unlocking your leg power is essential for building overall strength and athleticism. When performing barbell one leg squats, it’s important to focus on proper form and gradually increase weight as you progress. By engaging your core and maintaining balance, you can effectively target your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Make sure to incorporate this exercise into your routine to see great results and unlock your full leg power potential.

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Legs Barbell Exercises

Pin image for barbell one leg squat post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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