Your Full Guide to the Mighty Bulgarian Split Squat

Lexi Lutz
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Bulgarian split squat
Table of Contents

Don’t be intimidated! At first glance, Bulgarian split squats might appear challenging, yet they are perfect if you aim to improve your lower body’s strength and stability.

In this article, I’ll cover its benefits, proper form, variations, and common mistakes to avoid. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to master the Bulgarian split squat and take your leg workouts to the next level. Let’s get started!

What is the Bulgarian Split Squat?

The Bulgarian split squat is a challenging single-leg exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. It involves standing with one foot forward and the other foot behind you on an elevated surface such as a step or bench. This exercise places a greater emphasis on the front leg, making it a highly effective way to enhance lower body strength and stability.

Executing the Bulgarian split squat demands a mastery of balance, coordination, and precise technique, making it a valuable addition to any leg-focused workout routine. 

By incorporating this exercise into your leg day, you’ll engage lower body muscles uniquely, presenting a refreshing challenge. Beyond its physical benefits, the Bulgarian split squat contributes to a winning mindset, giving you the confidence and determination you need in your fitness journey.

Bulgarian Split Squat

When done correctly, Bulgarian split squats can have a significant impact on your leg strength and overall fitness level. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, improve your balance, or increase your lower body endurance, this exercise is a powerful tool for achieving your goals.

How to Perform the Bulgarian Split Squat

If you want to do the Bulgarian split squat correctly, follow these simple steps:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step forward with one foot. Place your other foot on an elevated surface such as a bench or step behind you.
  3. Make sure that your front knee is directly above your ankle, and your back knee is hovering above the ground.
  4. Slowly lower your back knee towards the ground while keeping your front knee in line with your toes.
  5. Press through your front foot to raise your body back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the movement on the other side.

Remember to maintain proper form and engage your core throughout the movement to reap the full benefits of the exercise.

Proper form is vital for getting the most out of the Bulgarian split squat. Keep your shoulders back and chest out, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. Keep the weight on your front heel, and avoid allowing your front knee to cave inward or track over your toes.

Benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat

Let’s get into some Bulgarian split squat benefits:

  • Improved lower body strength: The Bulgarian split squat targets the major muscle groups of the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. By engaging these muscles, you can improve your overall lower body strength and power.
  • Greater muscle symmetry: Since the Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral exercise, meaning it targets each leg individually, you can improve muscle symmetry and balance. This can be particularly helpful for athletes who need to maintain a high level of balance and stability.
  • Enhanced stability and balance: Balancing on one leg while performing the Bulgarian split squat requires a significant amount of core and hip stability. Over time, this can help improve your overall balance and stability.
  • Increased mobility and flexibility: The Bulgarian split squat can help improve hip and ankle mobility, allowing for a greater range of motion during other exercises. Additionally, it can also increase flexibility in the hips and lower back.
Bulgarian Split Squat Benefits

Overall, the Bulgarian split squat is one of the best squat variations around for building lower body strength, stability, and muscle symmetry. By perfecting the Bulgarian split squat form, you can push yourself to the limits of your leg day!

Variations and Alternatives of the Bulgarian Split Squat

Wanna spice up this killer exercise even more? Check out these Bulgarian split squat variations:

Holding dumbbells or using a barbellAdds resistance for increased strength gains
Performing on a balance disc or Bosu ballChallenges stability and improves proprioception
Incorporating plyometric jumpsIncreases power and explosiveness

Some of the best Bulgarian split squat alternatives include:

  • Lunges
  • Step-ups
  • Pistol squats

By incorporating these variations and alternatives, you can keep your workouts fresh and continue to challenge yourself as you work towards your fitness goals. Remember to always maintain proper form and gradually increase intensity as you go!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While the Bulgarian split squat is a great exercise for building lower body strength and stability, there are a few common mistakes to avoid.

First, it’s important to keep the front knee in line with the toes to prevent it from caving inwards. This can place unnecessary stress on the knee joint and increase the risk of injury.

Another common mistake is not reaching a full range of motion. It’s important to lower the back knee towards the ground while keeping the front knee in line with the toes. This will help to fully engage the muscles and develop greater strength and stability.

Finally, it’s important not to place excessive stress on the back knee. Make sure to distribute your weight evenly between your front and back legs, and avoid leaning too far forward.

By focusing on proper form and avoiding these common mistakes, you can get the most out of your Bulgarian split squat and minimize the risk of injury.


What muscles does the Bulgarian split squat work?

The Bulgarian split squat primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. It also engages the core and stabilizer muscles in the lower body.

How does the Bulgarian split squat benefit lower body strength?

The Bulgarian split squat helps to build lower body strength by placing a greater emphasis on the front leg, effectively targeting the muscles in the thighs, hips, and glutes. This exercise also improves stability and balance.

Can beginners perform the Bulgarian split squat?

Yes, beginners can perform the Bulgarian split squat. It is recommended to start with bodyweight squats and gradually add weights or resistance as strength and stability improve.

Are there different variations of the Bulgarian split squat?

Yes, there are various variations of the Bulgarian split squat. Some common variations include adding weights such as dumbbells or a barbell, using a balance disc or Bosu ball to challenge stability, or incorporating plyometric jumps for a more dynamic workout.

What are some alternatives to the Bulgarian split squat?

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Bulgarian split squat, lunges, step-ups, and pistol squats are some excellent options that target similar muscles and offer comparable benefits.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when performing the Bulgarian split squat?

Some common mistakes to avoid include allowing the front knee to cave inwards, not reaching a full range of motion, or placing excessive stress on the back knee. It’s important to maintain proper form, engage the core, and start with lighter weights before progressing to heavier loads.




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