Bulgarian Split Squat: How To Do, Variations, Benefits, And Mistakes

Bulgarian Split Squat: How To Do, Variations, Benefits, And Mistakes

Bulgarian split squat: Do you want to build stronger legs or develop your booty? Get a flat stomach and get a six-pack too? Increase your muscle activity and therefore maximize your strength? What if I told you that all of those goals can be achieved by doing the same exercise: the Bulgarian split squat.

Include this exercise if you want to save time, increase your confidence and achieve your goals faster. But let me tell you that exercise is not a wonder pill.

Getting Started With the Bulgarian Split Squat

1. Learn to Do Proper Bodyweight Squats

The squat is the foundation of the Bulgarian split squat. If you don’t know how to do the squat properly, your Bulgarian split squat will not have the best form. You may lack ankle or hip mobility and strength. It is better to find it on an easy exercise. 

Tip: If you’re pushing your knees too far in front of your toes, you know you lack proper form.  The squat should be a ‘sit-back motion’. This article can help you with your form: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Doing Perfect Squats

Once you’re able to do a proper bodyweight squat, increase the weight with the dumbbells until you hit a plateau and think you can’t move.  Then, if you feel like making a change, move on to the lunge.

2. Learn to Do a Proper Lunge

The lunge is a slightly more difficult exercise for your central nervous system than the back squat. This is because the lunge requires more balance work and only trains one leg at a time.  Begin increasing the weight with dumbbells until you hit a plateau and think you can’t move.

If you get good results: Keep up with this exercise. If not: move on.

3. After mastering the previous exercises, learn the Bulgarian Split Squat.

The Bulgarian split squat is in my opinion the hardest exercise out of those three, and so should be the last one that you will train regularly. The Bulgarian split squat can force your muscles to work even harder and puts more pressure on your midsection and your torso.

How To Do Bulgarian Split Squat? 

Bulgarian split squat

  • Find a step, bench, or any other device on which you may rest your foot that is about knee height.
  • With your back foot lifted on the bench, perform a forward lunge with your torso erect, core braced, and hips square to your body. Your leading leg should be around half a meter ahead of the bench.
  • Lower your front thigh until it is nearly horizontal, maintaining your knee in line with your foot. Keep your front knee from going past your toes.
  • Return to the starting posture by driving up through your front heel, keeping your movements measured once more.

Repeat: 5 to 10 times then swap to the other leg.

Sets: 3-5

Also Read: Front Squat: How To Do, Variations, Benefits, and Mistakes

How Bulgarian Split Squat Will Change Your Body? 

The Bulgarian split squat is a one-sided, compound exercise. It trains only one side of your body at a time and uses multiple joints for movement. This is what makes exercise special: a lot of muscle groups and nerve connections are involved. Leading to the following benefits:

Your muscles get stronger

You are exercising with one leg. This places the load on the specific muscles in your leg that help you build that booty or those quads.  These physical changes can lead to greater confidence and general well-being.

On unilateral exercises, the crossover effect also occurs. If you train one side of your body, the other side will also be trained to a lesser extent. This may be because your central nervous system is sending signals along a common pathway, resulting in muscle activation. Again a great aspect in getting closer to your fitness results.

Since leg muscles are one of the largest muscles in your body, exercise will increase your free testosterone levels as well. It is a good thing. Circulating testosterone will not only benefit your legs but will affect every muscle in your body. Doing the Bulgarian split squat will help you build muscle throughout your body. Not only that but free testosterone levels are also linked to longevity.

And ladies: don’t worry. Your body is definitely excreting less testosterone than men’s bodies.  You won’t get huge tools, you’ll get the curves you’ve been longing for!

You Get a Toned Midsection

A lot of hard work is being done on the legs in this exercise. This not only leads to muscle growth but will also help tone your midsection.  Your body needs a lot of calories to power a large muscle group like the legs. Consistently doing the Bulgarian split squat will help you lose weight.

The Bulgarian split squat also tones your midsection by training your core muscles. This is a tough exercise. Your core plays a huge role in balancing your body, which becomes especially difficult when extra weight is involved. This means that this leg exercise is also a great exercise for your core. You heard it right!

Stop You From Aging

Since you are doing the Bulgarian split squat on only one leg, it is a challenging exercise for your central nervous system. This forces your brain to balance your body weight and excess weight while exercising. It is stressful but also very important.

Most of the activities that we do daily are one-sided and require a lot of balancing work. Either use it or lose it. By incorporating exercises such as the Bulgarian Split Squat into your training, you are ensuring that you are properly activating your central nervous system.

Also Read: Close Grip Bench Press: How To Do, Variations, Benefits, And Mistakes

To-Do or Not to Do The Bulgarian Split Squat

Like many things in life, it only depends on your current circumstances. Is the Bulgarian Split Squat the best exercise for a beginner? No, I seriously don’t think so. I think the lunge or squat is an easy exercise and should be the one you start with. the Bulgarian split squat is challenging for the central nervous system and your joints. This is a great stress position for beginners and can lead to injury and fatigue.

If you have gathered some experience and are training regularly, then yes, the Bulgarian Split Squat might be something for you to try. I’m talking at least 1 year of regular lifting or earlier if you’re training with a certified coach.

The Bulgarian split squat is a challenging exercise. And that’s definitely a good thing.

Let me show you how you can slowly work your way up to starting training with the Bulgarian Split Squat.


This one-sided exercise is a great way to help challenge your central nervous system, build muscle, and tone your midsection, but it’s no miracle drug. You will not get immediate results from this.  

There was this huge hype going around about High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This exercise regime promised massive fat loss with just a small time investment. Countless newspapers and articles have been written on the subject. But the truth is that this exercise was developed not for the general public, but e athletes. And no, that’s not a good thing.

Elite athletes have different needs and desires than the general public. You can’t start training Arnold Schwarzenegger today and hope you look like him in a month. Countless other variables play a role. Chances are high that you will hurt yourself.

If you look at the biomechanics of the squat in comparison to the lunge and the Bulgarian split squat, you will realize that you are training the same muscles. Some people can feel the squat more, others actually believe in doing lunges or the Bulgarian split squat.

If you are an experienced athlete, you can try implementing the Bulgarian split squat into your exercise regimen. If you really feel the difference, keep at it. If you think squatting gives you the same results, then squat. There is no quick solution.

Bulgarian Split Squat Variations

Gym ball Bulgarian split squat

Maintaining your balance is one of the most difficult aspects of the elevated split squat, so why not make it even more difficult by resting your back foot on a gym ball? As you try to complete the maneuver smoothly on the unstable terrain, your core and front leg will be put to the test even more.

Gym ball Bulgarian split squat with twist

For this variant, ditch the weights and add another plane of movement to test your balance and coordination in new and intriguing ways. Hold your arms out in front of you, hands together, and lower into a squat while twisting your torso to one side. Each squat should be done on a different side.

Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat

Dumbbells are a simpler option than a barbell for adding weight to this exercise, making them an excellent initial step up from the unweighted form. As you complete the movement, hold a dumbbell in each hand and hang them by your sides.


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