Bulgarian Split Squat Benefits – Powerful Exercise!

February 20, 2022 0 Comments


In this article I am going to discuss bulgarian split squat benefits. The bulgarian split squat is an under-rated exercise that is still not commonly performed in a lot of gyms. If it is performed it is relegated to an accessory movement that is thrown in once in a while. There are many benefits to performing this exercise regularly which I will cover. 

What Is A Bulgarian Split Squat?

The bulgarian split squat is a single leg exercise that is designed to work the quads, glutes and hamstrings. You stand close to a bench and rest your back leg on the bench, then simply squat down and back up. 

You want to think of going straight down and straight up, it is important to ensure that your knees don’t travel too far forward over your toes and that they don’t cave in on the way up.

There is a lot of flexibility with this exercise. You can perform it by holding a pair of dumbbells at your side, holding one dumbbell and the other hand on a rack in front of you for more balance, having a barbell on your back or by using resistance bands. My preferred way of executing this exercise nowadays is by using resistance bands. 

I simply stand on a resistance band with the working leg and pull the band with my hands to utilise the tension of the band. Then whilst holding the band I perform the exercise as normal. I find this way it is far easier to balance and I can focus more on the movement and muscular contractions.

bulgarian split squat

Reduce Muscle Imbalances

One of the great benefits of the bulgarian split squat is that it addresses muscular imbalances between legs that is very common. Most people have a dominant leg that is slightly stronger, by doing bulgarians on a regular basis you can see firsthand the scale of the imbalance and correct it over time by performing more reps with the weaker leg. 

By reducing imbalances you will also be stronger as a whole when doing lower body compound movements. It will improve structural integrity as well as minimise injury risk. Over-compensation can play a role in many injuries, this is where a stronger body part can take over too much on an exercise which also increases injury risks.

Friendly On The Back

Another great benefit of the bulgarian split squat is that it is very friendly on the back. The regular barbell back squat when performed very heavy and consistently can introduce a lot of compressive forces on the spine. The bulgarian split squat doesn’t load the spine to the same degree and therefore you can do a lot of volume without exposing yourself to a higher risk of back injuries. 

For people who may be unable to perform heavy barbell squats due to lower back issues, the bulgarian split squat is a fantastic leg exercise which will enable you to get the same benefits but without back pain. For older trainees as well this can be a big benefit. As you get older longevity becomes more important when it comes to lifting weights. Training in smarter ways can help you in this regard.

Very Functional Exercise

The bulgarian split squat is also an incredibly functional exercise which is why it is used by lots of athletes. It forces you to improve your balance and co-ordination against resistance. For athletic endeavours you have to be able to generate force and be stable off of one leg.

 As it is a single leg exercise, you have to support the weight with only one leg. Consistently performing this exercise over a long period will significantly improve balance and strengthen weak links in each leg. 

As a result of the difficulty of balancing the weight on one leg your core will get stronger. A stronger core is very beneficial to all movements in the weight room and also in everyday life. 

Builds Great Glutes

Another big benefit of the bulgarian split squat is that it will activate the glutes a lot and build very good glutes. To target the glutes really well, simply move your front foot slightly further in front. You have to find the right balance because if your front foot is too far forward you can strain your adductor. 

I like to take three steps in front of the bench behind and I find this is the perfect sweet spot to hit the glutes without straining the adductors. By utilising a bit more forward lean you can activate the glutes better as well. This is my preferred way of using the bulgarian split squat. I like to perform this exercise with a bigger emphasis on the posterior chain muscles.

By doing your bulgarian split squats in this manner you will build great glutes and this will benefit you in athletic endeavours as well as improve aesthetics. 



To conclude, in this article I have talked about the benefits of the bulgarian split squat and how it is such a powerful exercise. It can bulletproof your lower body and core which in turn will serve to reduce injuries and improve your athletic performance. 

The exercise is friendly on the back so it is good for people who are focused on longevity in their training. If you have existing lower back issues then this exercise is perfect for you to still be able to hit your lower body hard. 

The exercise is functional and it can also build fantastic glutes when performed with the right technique. In this article I have outlined the technique that will target the glutes the best.  

If you have any questions about anything I have written in this article please let me know. Do you perform bulgarian split squats currently in your training? How do you load the exercise? I would love you to interact with my article by leaving your comments. This is a great way for me to respond to your questions and learn more about what you are doing in your training.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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