A Guide To The Split Squat: Variations And Techniques

A Guide To The Split Squat: Variations And Techniques

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 11/29/2022

Bulgarian split squat, If you have attempted Bulgarian split squats, you undoubtedly already have some concept of how uncomfortable and heart-pounding they can be, primarily if you perform many of them. A large amount of pressure is placed on your lower legs, glutes, and central nervous system due to the combination of hinging at the hip and stabilizing when the body is under load. Figure out which variations of the single-leg squat are the most beneficial.

split squat

When you do healthy squat patterns using the Bulgarian split squat, you will find a lot of carryover in those patterns. When you split your stance and do the exercise, you can work on mobility in the hip flexors and at the bottom position of a single-leg squat. This is achievable because of the exercise's split stance. You can focus on quad hypertrophy by loading one side at a time, loading both sides simultaneously, or drilling to improve hip stability. Alternatively, you can load one side at a time to improve hip strength. One of the many beneficial uses of the split squat is to assist patients in knee rehabilitation in concentrating on their whole range of knee flexion. This is one of the many essential applications of the split squat.

It is possible to carry out the activity in some different ways. The variations may get somewhat complicated depending on the angles at which your body is positioned and where your shin is put. Learn all there is to know about the benefits (and drawbacks) of the Bulgarian split squat by reading our comprehensive guide to the exercise.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The unusual history of the Bulgarian Split Squat and the place where it first appeared

It is hard to talk about the Bulgarian split squat without, at some point bringing up the questionable origins of this exercise.

Weightlifters from Europe and Russia reached the pinnacle of their respective sports during the Cold War period. During this period, the mark of weightlifting went through a phase in which there was a significant innovation. To maximize their chances of winning an Olympic gold medal, athletes and coaches experimented with various strategies for technical training, rep schemes, and strength tactics. Everyone was trying to get their hands on confidential information from the countries coming out on top. How could they push themselves to become so immensely and unimaginably powerful by their training?

split squat

In the 1980s, rumors began to spread that the Bulgarian weightlifting team had completely abandoned back squats in favor of split squats and weighted step-ups to improve their leg strength. It was said to have occurred because the group believed these other exercises would produce better results. Before the general public discovered it, this was a well-guarded secret. This idea spread so rapidly throughout the United States that it was given the name "split squat" to reflect its rapid dissemination.

According to the findings of our investigation, these well-kept "secrets" turned out to be nothing more than falsehoods spread by one specific individual: Angel Spassov, an assistant coach for the Bulgarian weightlifting national team. Nobody knows why he did it, although it's possible that he wanted credit for coming up with the idea or that he was trying to throw off the plans of other countries. Some misunderstandings about what was being said. In any event, split squats are not a good alternative for back squats to develop full strength, yet, they will still do a number on your lower trunk.

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Different Forms Of The Bulgarian Split Squat And Their Variations

The rear-elevated split squat can execute in not one but two essentially distinct manners. Neither is necessarily superior to the other; it depends on the context. Let's have a chat about those things, shall we?

Shoelaces Arranged in a Line on the Bench is One of the Variations (the most common)

The split squat may perform in various ways, and you can find this particular version in practically any gym. It is simple to make a mistake, but it is also simple to make adjustments for those with persistent knee pain.

Setup

rear-elevated split squat

Use an approximately knee-high platform, such as a box, a bench, or any other stable piece of furniture. When selecting a seat on a bench, be careful not to pick one too high up. Place the top of your back foot on the bench while you are in the bottom position, and position your front foot just far enough away from the court to have a very slight bend in your knees traveling forward.

The most crucial guidance for this variation is to keep your weight in the middle of your foot, not too far back in your heel, and not too far forward in your toes. It will ensure that you are doing the variation correctly. Your foot will be in the correct position due to this adjustment. Your stance should be around the same width as required for a split jerk if you want to be successful (no tightrope walking here).

Squat

From beginning posture, bend slightly forward at the hips and drop into a squat while pressing your shoelaces into the bench like a kickstand. Continue until you have completed the desired number of repetitions. Carry on moving in this manner until you reach the bottom of the exercise. As you go through the motion, you shouldn't allow yourself to wobble either forward or backward; instead, you should drive straight up and down. Pay special attention to the fact that ninety percent of your body weight ought to be sustained by the surface underneath the foot in the leading position.

Add Weight

split squat

If you want to put your strength to the test while standing on one leg, an excellent method to do it is by holding a kettlebell or dumbbell to your chest. In addition, you could carry a barbell on your back while holding a pair of weights by your sides in a suitcase-like way. It would be a challenging exercise. There is no limit to the variety of ways one might go through the process of suffering.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Toes In The Rear Are Flexed (The OG)

It is said that the Bulgarian weightlifting squad was responsible for teaching this variation back when it was initially made available. It features a lower platform, the feet are put in a somewhat different pattern, and the hips and knees are bent at varied angles. Other differences include: Some people call this exercise the Poliquin split squat when the back foot is planted firmly on the ground at the bottom of the movement.

Find a stable platform elevated no more than a few inches from the ground's surface (a 45lb plate works for this). It would be best if you placed the ball of your rear foot on the platform with your toes bent rather than laying your shoelaces on it like you usually would. You must bring your front foot out to squat without your heel coming off the ground. To achieve this, you need to extend your front foot. To do this, you must step your front foot to the appropriate distance.

Squat

split squat

Squat down and maintain your chest up while ensuring your front foot is firmly planted on the ground. Move the knee before the toes and keep driving the hamstring down until it reaches the calf. Pass the front knee over the toes. Concentrate on getting into a deeper forward lunge posture rather than moving up and down in a vertical line. It will be more beneficial. To rise out of the squat, draw yourself down onto the front foot, then straighten the knee as you push off the back foot. While doing this, the knee on your back should lift off the ground.

Add Weight

Like the last exercise variant, this allows you to work with dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells. Put your imagination to work and see what it feels like to carry a sandbag, a dog, or a young child. You Have Too Much Effort for There to Be No Advancement despite Your Efforts.

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Squats with the front foot raised or in a deficit stance provide additional benefits.

If you do not have a lot of movement in your hips, you might want to explore raising your front foot on a common platform in a configuration comparable to Option 2 above. It will assist you in getting a better stretch in the front leg of your body. As a result, you will be able to keep a more upright position in your torso and lessen the freedom imposed on the back hip flexors.

Use this alternative strategy, which is a modification of the split squat, and observe how your body reacts to the shift in routine. Even if you have relatively decent mobility, you should still engage in this activity.

Breaking Down The Split Squat Taking Your Goals Into Account

split squat

Let's go a little bit more precisely here to have a more in-depth conversation about the many variations of the split squat and which ones you should use, depending on whether you want to concentrate more on your quadriceps or your glutes while performing this exercise.

The split squat can execute in a manner deemed "right" or "wrong," but the variation you select should be determined by the fitness objectives you have set for yourself. Do you want to focus more on improving your quadriceps or glutes? May perform The exercises in four distinct ways, each emphasizing either your quadriceps or your glutes, according to angles from your planted shin and torso. Each of these approaches emphasizes a different set of muscles.

  • The stance with the front of the shins and the body facing forward
  • The body and the shins are both held in a vertical position.
  • The torso is oriented toward the front, shins toward the front of the room
  • The body is standing, and the shins are pointing forward.

Split Squats For Quad Strength

split squat

This variation is excellent for exercising the quadriceps since the emphasis is on bending the knees. [Case in point] Your form should be very similar to that of the front squat, which is the sort of squat that places the most focus on developing the quadriceps:

  • The body is vertical, and the shins are pointing forward.

Split squats Are Great For Producing Your Glutes.

This variation places a greater focus on hinging at the hips, which demands your glutes and hamstrings to make more effort than usual. Glute-dominant exercises, such as RDLs and good mornings, use a form that is equivalent to the following in the context of the activity:

  • The torso is oriented toward the front and shins toward the front of the room.

Split Squat Exercises To Strengthen The Posterior Chain

  • If the specifics don't matter to you and all you truly want is a more robust posterior chain, you are free to pick whichever version you like, including the two that will discuss in the following paragraphs:
  • The stance with the front of the shins and the body facing forward
  • The body and the shins are both held in a vertical position.