Bulgarian squat

BREAK IT DOWN: How to Do the Bulgarian Split Squat

Premium Vector | Woman doing bulgarian split squats with barbell

The exercise you are about to consider is widely known in the world as Bulgarian squat. What is specific about it is that it is performed on one leg, while the other is stretched back and is supported.

The movement is easy to perform when only your own weight is used. With the addition of additional weights (barbells, dumbbells) the balance becomes much more difficult, so this option is recommended for more advanced fitness enthusiasts.

Participating muscles


  • Quadriceps femoris;
  • Large gluteal muscles (Gluteus maximus).


  • Adductors (Adductor magnus);
  • Soleus;

Dynamic stabilizers

  • Posterior femoral muscles (Biceps femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus);
  • Calves (Gastrocnemius);


  • Long spinal muscles (Erector spinae);
  • Intermediate and small gluteal muscles (Gluteus medius, Glutes minimus).

According to the technique of execution with different fitness equipment

  • With your own weight, without additional load – an easy option, start learning the movement from it;
  • With dumbbells – the easiest option you can use for strength and muscle lift;
  • On the Smith machine – this option enhances the role of long spinal muscles as stabilizers. I do not recommend it to people with low back problems;
  • With a short barbell – the heaviest option, you have to balance during squats, and this is not easy at the bottom end of the movement. I do not recommend performing with an Olympic lever. Balance becomes quite almost impossible;
  • With elastics – the difficulty varies from low to high in the uppermost point;
  • On a portal pulley – the easiest option (assisted). The squat holds the upper reel and, when lowered, lifts part of the weight of the pulley in counterweight, which helps to alleviate the difficulty of execution. Recommended for people with overweight and / or knee problems;

According to the type of support

  • Stable (bench, chair, 5-6 discs with weights or even a dumbbell) – start with this option.
  • Unstable (Swiss ball) – a great option for people looking to improve their balance. Can only be combined with dumbbells, all other options carry risks and fewer benefits.

How To Master The Bulgarian Split Squat | Coach Exercise Guides | Coach

According to the amplitude

  • Standard amplitude – go down until the hip joint is level with the knee;
  • Shortened – you go down only one span, holding on to a Swedish wall / railing or something. Recommended for overweight women as a transition to standard squats ;
  • Full amplitude – at the lower end point the hind knee almost rests on the ground;

Execution of a standard Bulgarian squat with dumbbells on a bench support

  • Place the bench across from one of the mirrors in the club, choose your dumbbells;
  • Take a weightless position and do two or three repetitions to make sure your position is good;
  • Step on the floor with both feet, take your dumbbells by squatting (not just bending), place the supporting leg on the bench;
  • Lower until your hip joint aligns with the knee of the working leg;
  • Down slow down, stop smoothly;
  • Start ascending smoothly until you return to starting point 3.


  • Avoid sudden movements, especially when descending;
  • Do not hit your knee on the floor;
  • Do not shake the dumbbells;
  • Do not bend down, keep the body upright;
  • During the performance, your entire foot should be on the floor, ie. your weight should be evenly distributed;

Bulgarian squat is an exercise that you can include in combination with attacks , squat with a Swiss ball and dumbbells and / or plie to replace standard squats. In practice, this is sometimes necessary due to a momentary or chronic injury to the knee.

Filled with weight, the Bulgarian squat can significantly contribute to the increase of muscle mass in the upper thighs. Functionally, performing this type of squat can indirectly improve sprints and long and high jumps.

How to Do the Bulgarian Split Squat | Openfit

Bulgarian squat
Scroll to top