Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bulgarian Split Squat

In sport and in life, we are always on one leg... so why doesn't our training reflect that? Your mechanics are completely different on one leg mainly because you're forced to balance.  There's plenty of information out there on the importance of single leg (or unilateral) training so I won't beat it to death. But it's extremely important to integrate some type of lunging/step up variation into your routine.  You'll challenge your balance, open up or preserve your hip mobility, and strength your body in the way you use it most.

The bulgarian or rear leg elevated split squat opens up that back hip and will help to build unilateral glute and quad strength.  Add the plyometric jump version for a more explosive challenge.

When to use this movement?

  • Load it as one of your primary leg movements
  • Super set it with a Bilateral (2 leg) movement or an upper body movement.
  • Perform for time or reps as part of a metabolic or "finishing" movement.
  • As a recovery or balancing exercise in between more challenging movements.


  • If you find that the position is hard to get into, grab a hard medicine ball or a foam roller and start rolling out that hip flexor/quad/IT band complex. 
  • When initiating the movement think "drop the back knee" vs "bend the front knee".
  • When performing bodyweight variations, swing the arms to help generate power.
  • For the jumping variation I tucked the knee up, but at first just focus on getting that front leg off the floor.
  • With the jump be sure to place as much focus on the landing as you do the take off... soft landing and absorb the impact... don't land stiff legged.
  • Looking for more of a challenge? Load the movement using dumbbells, weight vests, a weighted back pack, medicine balls or bands. 

Rear Leg Elevated Split Squat or Bulgarian Split Squat to Jump Progression

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