Bulgarian Split Squat | 5 Of The Best Progressions

bulgarian split squat
Never let your knee collapse.

Bulgarian Split Squats are the real deal. Anytime you are working with unilateral strength (single leg) you are really going to work your glutes, quads, challenge your balance and strengthen your hips. If you are ready to learn the proper form, see why the Olympians are doing bulgarian split squats over back squat these days then stick around.

Bulgarian Split Squat Form

These bad boys are tough. You can’t cheat your way out of them and it doesn’t allow you to overcompensate in other areas. BUT you can do it wrong so let’s make sure your form is on point so you can reap the benefits:

  • Hip crease needs to go below 90 degrees
  • Don’t let you knee go in
  • Front leg stays at 90 degrees 
  • No arching in your lower back, always be in that solid hollow body position. 

if you are a visual person check out the video below I will teach you all the tricks 🤙🏻

Once you master the form…do more of them 🙂

Bulgarian Split Squat Muscles Worked

Bulgarians are going to smoke your quads, glutes, challenge your core stability and are such a great exercise that isn’t utilized enough. Speaking of core have you mastered the L Sit? I gigured since the bulgarian split squats are one of the toughest exercises you might be interested in the toughest core exercise the L Sit. They are both are very hard. I’m going to show you some progressions below labeled “progressions” to make them easier and or harder and I also have a sample below too, just click this link to be taken there.

Bulgarian Split Squat Progressions

As I mentioned these are really challenging but the benefits are awesome. It is important you have mastered proper form and the progressions first. So below I have listed the steps I would like to see you take before adding bulgarian split squats into your training routine.

Always master the basics first.

The split squat gets you comfortable getting used the balance that is required, and allows you to make sure you have the pre-req strength needed because I want you to go all the way down. Take your knee to floor without your knee caving in, stand up, squeeze your glute. If you can do that, try the next exercise below.

Give this one a try, it’s hard.

Okay so this movement is super tough. It may be harder than the bulgarian but I will leave that up to you. I put this above the split squat mainly because I want you to try and also get used to this forward lean. It’s not a bad thing. It helps tell your brain essentially that it is okay for your knee to go over your toes and helps to strengthen your quads, ankle dorsi flexion and really will expose you to your single leg strength.

Mastered this? Try the video below 🙂
We have a workout listed below that shows you how we incorporate these into our training. Be sure to give it a try!

Jumping BSS ouch. This exercise will really get your quads to light on🔥. Within our training programs we fully believe that once you master the foundations, we want you to “level up.” Continue to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. We want to bring the best out of each and everyone of our clients. So if you have mastered the bulgarian split squat you better believe we are going to :

  • Add weight
  • Add tempo
  • Add reps
  • Add a harder progression

We care about challenging you and we also care about making sure we have an exercise that meets you where you are at. See what others have to say about why they joined our training programs by clicking here and how many of them say “I’m in the best shape of my life.”

You are a monster if you are doing these. I want to meet you.

If you are performing front rack split squats you are mind kind of people and be sure to comment below with a 👊🏻 so I can see my fellow rockstars. Those you that aren’t quite there yet, that’s okay! Master the progressions first and gradually progress yourself through each exercise and mastering each one of them with good form.

Knee Pain

Knee pain can trigger from a few things. If your knees are tracking over your toes then you are on the right track. Watch the video below if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about. If you still have knee pain I want you to try this:

Do this every leg day

Having tight quads pulls your body into an “anterior pelvic tilt” essentially pulls your pelivs forward and makes your hip flexors super tight which can lead to a number of things:

  • Back pain
  • Knee pain being just too of them.

Just make a habit to foam roll before your workouts. It’s the second thing we do in our workouts after “mindset.” Get your mind right, then your body right, then train hard. We have an app that guides you through our workouts which I personally think is the coolest thing ever, check us out!

This is under utilized.

We use bands all the time in our training programs. It’s a great way to get a little extra stretch without having a physical therapist or a gym buddy there to stretch you. Use the contract and relax method I talk about in the video to really help free up some range of motion.

Do this if you sit in a chair throughout the day

I talked about it earlier…tight quads lead to back pain and I have even heard someone say “dumping all of your torque forward” before. Which basically means you are losing all of your power because you can’t get into a good spinal position. Add this stretch do your daily routine, your body and your back will thank you.

Killer Glute Workout

Here is a sample workout pulled from our training program in our “strength segment of our fitness program. Both beginner, intermediate, and advanced will perform four sets but we have slightly different modifications for each. Give it a try and comment below how much you loved the way your legs felt after 🙂

Four Sets:

Intermediate & Advanced 

  1. 12 x Bulgarian Split Squat
  1. 8 x Jumping Bulgarian Split Squat
  1. Rest x 30 seconds between legs and 60 seconds between sets

That’s right. Jumping bulgarians. Directly after your 12 start jumping away and light your legs up.

Beginner 

Four sets:

  1. 12 x Split Squat 
  1. 8 x Jumping Split Squat
  1. Rest x 30 seconds between legs and 60 seconds between sets

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced All Complete:

But make sure you squat form is dialed in. Bulgarian Split squats are so good for improving your squat strength.

A great variation if the barbell hurts your back, you don’t want to load your spine, or whatever the case may be BUT you have to make sure you form is dialed in as always so make sure to watch the back squat video first.

Just like with the bulgarians, we want your hips to be below your “knee crease”

Every 2 Minutes x 5 sets

  1. 5 x Back Squat
  1. 10 x Jump Squat

Conclusion

We talked about how this variation of single leg work is BRUTAL and I gave you quite a few progressions in case you aren’t able to perform the bulgarian split squat with good form yet. Make sure your knee is tracking over your toe, never caving in and do more of them 🙂

bulgarian split squat
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

P.S

Want some sweet ab workouts? Click here to get FREE access to our favorite 5 ab workouts that can be done in less than ten minutes a day

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