Bulgarian split squat: Tone your glutes with this exercise

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Written By Robby Macaay

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Do you want to strengthen your glutes? Incorporate Bulgarian split squats into your fitness regimen.

All fitness enthusiasts love to try a new workout to change their fitness regimen. And if you want to try a new muscle gain exercise, look no further and try incorporating Bulgarian split squat into your workout routine. The Bulgarian split squat is considered one of the best single-leg exercises. Moreover, the Bulgarian split squat exercise is the most popular and often considered the king of single-leg exercises since it improves balance, strength, and power. This exercise engages many muscles with a focus on the quadriceps when performed with one leg behind you and lifted off the ground. Here are the benefits of Bulgarian split squat and here’s how to perform it correctly.

What is a Bulgarian split squat?

The Bulgarian split squat, also referred to as “rear foot elevated split squats,” or RFESS, is a highly effective leg exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. This exercise involves elevating one foot off the ground while the other leg bears the majority of the weight. This unique unilateral single-leg exercise requires a split stance, stimulating the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. By engaging these muscle groups, the Bulgarian split squat can help build strength, improve balance, and enhance overall athletic performance, says fitness expert Mahesh Ghanekar.

Do Bulgarian split squats every day to tone your glutes. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

What are the benefits of Bulgarian split squat?

Here are some of the notable benefits of Bulgarian split squats as explained by the expert.

1. Good for glutes

If you’re looking for an effective exercise to build strength, tone your muscles and butt, Bulgarian split squats are the best choice for you. This exercise targets your glutes and tone your butt.

Also Read: Perform these 5 glutes exercises right at home

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2. Aids weight loss

Bulgarian split squats engage multiple muscle groups and increase heart rate, making them an effective exercise for burning calories and weight loss.

3. Improves your body symmetry

In addition to helping you balance your legs unilaterally, strengthening your lower body with moves like the Bulgarian split squat will improve your body’s overall symmetry. Plus, this is particularly useful if you’re recovering from an injury or trying to correct any muscle or strength imbalances in your body.

4. Increases hip flexor flexibility

The Bulgarian split squat allows for a wide range of motion in the hips and knees. Increasing the range of motion can reduce muscle tension and improve hip mobility.

5. Helps to improve running ability

Regular Bulgarian split squat workouts will strengthen your leg muscles and improve your running efficiency. Therefore, you need to incorporate this into your training routine if you’re an athlete or wish to run faster.

6. Promotes muscle strength

Bulgarian split squats are a great way to build muscle and develop your legs while working out. You will get more muscle and single-leg strength the harder you work. This workout will become even more beneficial if you do it with weights.

Also Read: Butt kicks: Try this perfect lower body exercise for beginners

How to do Bulgarian split squats?

Here is a complete guide to Bulgarian split squats.

  • Step 1: Stand in front of a bench or a chair, with eyes and chest forward, shoulders back, core engaged and your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Step 2: Place your right foot on the bench behind you. You can either position your ankle joint on the bench or flex your ankle and balance on the ball of your foot and toe.
  • Step 3: Make sure your feet are still about hip distance apart, if not slightly wider. It will be harder to balance if your elevated foot is right behind your front foot.
  • Step 4: Keep in mind that the engagement and movement of the exercise are all centred on the front leg and your back foot is only there to assist you in maintaining your balance.
  • Step 5: Lower down while keeping your right knee and ankle naturally bent. Engage your core while keeping your chest up and your eyes forward. This will prevent your back leg from bearing the entire weight of the activity.
  • Step 6: As you lower the leg, keep the load evenly distributed on your left foot. Hinge slightly forward at the hips, keeping your left knee aligned with your left toe (don’t cave in or bow out).
  • Step 7: Take a deep breath and lower the leg until your left quadriceps is almost parallel to the floor.
  • Step 8: Go back to the initial position, using your left quad and glute to power the upward phase of the exercise. As you push yourself to a standing position, breathe.
  • Step 9: Do desired repetition on one side and move on the other side. This completes one set.

Also Read: Not ready for cardio or strength training? You can start with these 5 quad stretches

Common mistakes to avoid while doing Bulgarian split squat

Here are some of the common mistakes to keep in mind while doing the Bulgarian split squat.

1. Putting the back leg directly behind the front

If you place your back foot directly behind your front foot, you’ll have trouble balancing during the workout. This is already a unilateral balancing challenge because your front leg powers the action; you must maintain balance while lowering yourself into a squat predominantly supported by your front foot.

2. Using the back leg to support movement

Always remember that the Bulgarian split squat is a single-leg squat. While the back leg is intended to aid in balance, it isn’t necessary to be engaged to perform the exercise, making it more of a lunge.

Bulgarian split squat
Doing Bulgarian split squat can help tone your legs. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

3. Allowing the front knee to lose alignment

One common and important error made when performing the Bulgarian split squat, as with all squat and lunge variations, is to allow the front knee to move inward or outward, out of alignment with the same-side toes. Particularly in single-leg exercises when one leg is supporting both the weight and the resistance, this puts far too much strain on the knee, so be cautious while performing this exercise.

Are there any side effects of doing the Bulgarian split squat?

It does not have side effects unless the posture is wrong. When done correctly, it doesn’t impact your body in a bad way. However, If you have knee or ankle pain or an injury that limits your flexibility and mobility, this workout is not appropriate for you. Plus, If you experience any pain or discomfort when performing the split squat variation exercise with your back foot balanced on the floor, you should stop.

Make sure you consult your doctor and trainer before adding any new exercises to your fitness routine.

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