Bulgarian Split Squat are a type of exercise performed with only one leg, so they provide great benefits to your lower body. They allow you to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves just like squats and lunges, but they focus more on the quads and engage your core for balance. All you need is a bench or chair, and if you feel comfortable, you can add a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells to increase the intensity and effectiveness of the exercise.
You will also have the opportunity to improve the muscular imbalances that exist on one side or the other. This will prevent one side from taking over when performing different activities and reduce the risk of injury over time.
However, it is very important to learn the correct form so that the exercise is safe and effective. Simply follow the instructions below.
How to do a Bulgarian split squat
If you are a beginner in this type of exercise, try to do only 2 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions for each leg, once you get used to the movement and have more strength, you can increase the number of repetitions for each set. Now you will be able to do 3 sets of 12 repetitions. Pay close attention to the following steps.
1. Stand up straight about two feet away from a bench, box, or sturdy chair at the height of your knees. Remember that your feet should be hip-width apart; you can place your hands on your waist or bend your elbows to bring them together at chest level, as shown in the picture.
2. Lift your right foot and place it on the bench or chair behind your body, making sure your feet are still hip width apart or a little wider. You will most likely have to jump or move your left foot until you find the right position that is safe and balanced. You may even need to do this several times after doing one or two repetitions.
3. Your back foot will only help you keep your balance as the movement should be concentrated on the front leg, which in this case is the left. Now engage your core, pull your shoulders back, lift your chest, try to keep your eyes straight ahead and lean forward a little.
4. Bend the left leg, letting the right knee and ankle bend naturally, making sure the left knee stays in line with the toes as you descend. Lower until left quadriceps is almost parallel to floor, then push back down. After completing one set, remove your foot from the bench or chair. Remember to complete the same number of sets and repetitions on each side.
There are some mistakes that are easy to make and that need to be watched for to make the exercise safe and effective. For example, it is very important not to use the back leg too much, as it is only there to help with balance.
Be careful not to lean too far forward from the hips, as this will only limit the benefits of the exercise to the core. It also puts too much stress on the front knee, a slight bend is more than enough.
Another mistake is to rise on the toes while lowering the body, this is because the front foot may be too close to the bench and you need to move it for better balance and alignment. In these cases, it is advisable to stop, check the position of the foot and make sure to keep the torso upright during the exercise.
Do not allow the front knee to lose alignment with the toes, do not allow it to move in or out, as this puts too much pressure on the joint, especially in this type of exercise where the weight falls on one side.