Bulgarian Split Squat: To Develop Strong and Sexy Legs

Bulgarian Split Squat is undeniably an amazing toning and firming exercise for your legs. If you’re looking for an effective and fun way to get fit, then you’ve come to the right place. The Bulgarian split squat is a great exercise that not only tones your legs and glutes, but also offers a host of other benefits. In this article, I’ll be walking you through the steps of how to do a Bulgarian split squat correctly, as well as the muscles used, tips and mistakes to avoid. So grab a sweat towel and let’s get started.

Bulgarian Split Squat Summary

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

Bulgarian Split Squat Instructions

  • Stand in a staggered stance with one foot slightly forward
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips until your back knee nearly touches the floor
  • Keep your front heel flat on the ground
  • Push through your front heel to stand up and return to the starting position
  • Repeat with the other leg forward

Video Tutorial

How to Do a Bulgarian Split Squat | Female Bodybuilding

Bulgarian Split Squat Muscles

Target (Agonist)

  • Quadriceps

Synergists

  • Adductor Magnus
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Soleus

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Hamstrings

Stabilizers

  • Erector Spinae
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Trapezius – Middle
  • Trapezius – Upper

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • Obliques
  • Rectus Abdominis
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the bulgarian split squat exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great exercise to include in a strength training or fitness routine as it targets the Quadriceps muscle while also working on balance and stability. This exercise is great for building strength and size in the quadriceps while helping to improve coordination, agility and balance. Additionally, due to its unilateral nature, the Bulgarian Split Squat helps to correct any muscular imbalances that you may have between your legs. It is also a great way to increase muscular endurance, as it requires a high number of repetitions to be performed. Ultimately, the Bulgarian Split Squat is an excellent exercise for strengthening the Quadriceps and increasing overall fitness.

Tips for Performing Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is an effective exercise that can be added to any fitness routine. It not only helps strengthen the legs and glutes, but also helps to increase balance, coordination and core stability. If you’re looking to increase your overall fitness level and reap the benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat, use the following tips to get the most out of each workout.

  • Push Yourself to Near Failing. Make sure that you have put in place effective safety precautions anytime you’re pushing yourself to within your limits. For these squats the closer you get to failure the more likely it might be that you lose your balance. But it is worth pushing yourself to near your limits so that you experience the best results.
  • Have a Partner in Order to Motivate You and Help Push You Past Failing. You will only get so far on your own, a partner is able to push you to continue and get you to use your muscle tissue more than you would on your own. Consequently you will definitely work your muscles more and afterward develop stronger muscles through rest.
  • Perform the Optimal Number of Sets With Proper Rest. Your target in the beginning might be to do 3 sets to near fatigue. However, you can build up to 5 sets. If your muscles aren’t exhausted at the conclusion of 3 – 5 sets something needs to change. Initially you can increase the resistance to make each repetition tougher, this is usually done by adding more weight. Additionally, you can decrease your rest time between each set.
  • Concentrate on Your Breathing. With most exercises breathing is very important. You should usually exhale out during the target muscle flexing and breathing in when your primary muscles are relaxing. So for the Squat breath in before you go down or on the way down keeping your core tight, and breath out on the way up.

Benefits and Tips Video

HOW TO do a BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT | proper form + common mistakes

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

It is important to avoid making mistakes while doing the Bulgarian Split Squat. Not only will it affect your progress in getting fit, but it can also put you at risk of injury. To ensure that you are doing the Bulgarian Split Squat correctly, be sure to avoid the common mistakes outlined below.

  • Don’t Skip Your Recovery. Over-training can easily make you weaker in lieu stronger and when you skip or reduce your recovery time you will be over-training. This can be not allowing yourself enough time between sets, but more often is not allowing enought days between working the muscle group again.
  • Avoid Cheating Reps. In nearly all cases, cheating is using momentum as a substitute for properly engaging your main muscle group. Occasionally, some cheating on your final rep can give you the benefit of overloading your muscle, although you don’t want to do to many reps that way.
  • You Don’t Want To Exercise Alone. Having a workout buddy is usually a fantastic motivator and they keep you accountable. A partner can certainly be also valuable spotter, but you will also push yourself more knowing you are being watched and analyzed as well. You should see that as a good thing if you have a supportive partner.

Variations and Complementary Exercises

The Bulgarian Split Squat is an effective exercise to strengthen the legs, but it’s not the only exercise you can do. If you’re looking for some variations, complementary, or alternative exercises to add to your routine, here are some great options to consider:

Graphic image of Squat Sidekick.

Squat Sidekick: Squat Sidekick is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Bulgarian Split Squat. This exercise is designed to help strengthen the glutes and quads, while also targeting the core. The Squat Sidekick is performed by standing with one foot on a bench or other stable surface, while keeping the other foot firmly planted on the floor. From this position, one lowers into a squat position and then explosively drives up, focusing on engaging the glutes and core. As with the Bulgarian Split Squat, it is important to focus on proper form in order to get the most benefit from this exercise.

Graphic image of Squat Hold.

Squat Hold: The Squat Hold is a great exercise to complement the Bulgarian Split Squat. It involves standing with feet shoulder-width apart and lowering into a squat position while keeping the back straight and the chest up. The main focus is to hold the squat position for as long as possible, building up strength in the legs and core. This exercise helps improve posture, stability, and balance, all of which are also important for performing Bulgarian Split Squats correctly. Additionally, it can be used as an alternative exercise if the Bulgarian Split Squat is too difficult or causes pain in the knees.

Graphic image of Squat.

Squat: Squat is an exercise that can be used as a complementary or an alternative to Bulgarian Split Squat. It works the same muscles, but in a different way. The Squat involves standing with feet hip-width apart and squatting down until the thighs are parallel with the floor. During the Squat, the core must remain engaged and the weight should be distributed evenly between the feet. This exercise can help to strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core muscles, providing an excellent complementary or alternative to Bulgarian Split Squat.

Check Out These Top Dumbbell Exercises

Graphic image of Smith Machine Rear Lunge.

Smith Machine Rear Lunge: The Smith Machine Rear Lunge is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Bulgarian Split Squat. This exercise focuses on strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, while also targeting the quads, core, and stabilizing muscles. It allows you to adjust the range of motion and intensity by changing the angle of the bar, and also utilizes the machine to ensure proper form and safety. This exercise can also be a great way to add variety and challenge to your leg workout, as it targets muscles in a slightly different way than the Bulgarian Split Squat.

Graphic image of Plyo Split Squats.

Plyo Split Squats: Plyo Split Squats are an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Bulgarian Split Squat. They involve explosive jumping movements while simultaneously performing a squat. This exercise challenges both your balance and stability as you must maintain form while in mid-air. This exercise is great for those who are looking to increase their muscular power, and is an excellent way to vary your leg day routine.

Graphic image of Plyo Side Lunge.

Plyo Side Lunge: The Plyo Side Lunge is a great complementary exercise for the Bulgarian Split Squat. It helps to develop power and explosiveness in the legs, while also targeting the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. This move can be used as an alternative exercise to the Bulgarian Split Squat, as it targets the same muscle groups while adding a plyometric element. This can help to increase the intensity of the workout, and ultimately lead to better results.

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In order to maximize the benefit of the Bulgarian Split Squat, it is important to pair it with other exercises that work opposing muscle groups. This will help create balance in the body and ensure that all muscles are equally strengthened. The following exercises are great complements to the Bulgarian Split Squat and will help strengthen opposing muscles.

Graphic image of Resistance Band Single Leg Curls.

Resistance Band Single Leg Curls: Resistance Band Single Leg Curls are a great way to complement Bulgarian Split Squats, as they work the opposing muscle group. The single leg curl helps to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, while the Bulgarian Split Squat targets the quads and hips. Resistance bands provide an extra challenge to the exercise, as they require more stability and control than traditional weights. This helps to develop balance and coordination, while also providing a full-body workout. Working both exercises together helps to create an overall balanced workout that can help improve strength, flexibility and stability.

Graphic image of Resistance Band Leg Curls.

Resistance Band Leg Curls: Resistance band leg curls are a great way to complement the Bulgarian split squat exercise, as they target the opposing muscle group. This exercise involves looping a resistance band around the legs and then curling the legs up towards the buttocks. The resistance band adds extra tension to the movement, helping to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. By pairing these two exercises together, you can effectively target both the quads and the hamstrings in order to build strength and muscular balance.

Graphic image of Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift.

Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift: The Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift is an excellent complementary exercise to the Bulgarian Split Squat. The Smith Machine Single Leg Deadlift works the opposing muscle group of the Bulgarian Split Squat, specifically targeting the hamstrings and glutes. This movement also allows for more stability than the Bulgarian Split Squat, making it a great option for those who struggle with balance and coordination. When performed together, these two exercises can create a balanced lower body workout that strengthens both the quads and hamstrings.

Recap

The Bulgarian Split Squat is an effective exercise to target your lower body muscles and increase strength and power. With the right form, you can get the most out of the movement and maximize the benefit. Make sure to avoid common mistakes like having your back leg too far away from the bench, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself while getting fit! Now that you know all about this exercise, why not take a look at some of our other fitness articles for more tips and tricks on how to get in shape?

References: Wikipedia | ExRx.net | PubMed.gov

Pin image for bulgarian split squat post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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