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How A Bulgarian Split-Squat Benefits Every Glutes Muscle?

You can pretty much guarantee that you can light up your glutes on fire while you're doing some squat. So if you're going to hit your glutes, quads

How A Bulgarian Split-Squat Benefits Every Glutes Muscle?

You can pretty much guarantee that you can light up your glutes on fire while you're doing some squat. So if you're going to hit your glutes, quads, and heart, your best bet is to spice it up with split squats in Bulgaria.

For a whole host of reasons the move is a fave trainer, and all you need to do for yourself is a bench and some serious lower body strength. Read on about everything you need to know.

The Benefits Of Bulgarian Split-Squats

A Bulgarian split squat has a (literal) leg on your normal squat because it involves lifting the back foot on top of a surface rather than placing it on the table. "It's a form of single-leg movement, and it's different from your standard barbell squat because it stresses one leg at a time and doesn't put a heavyweight on your shoulders," says Nick Topel, a Model Trainers ISSA accredited personal trainer and COO. "This is a great alternative to the traditional squat barbell, particularly for people with back problems as there is virtually no back or spine load."

According to Katie Kollath, ACE, CPT and co-founder of Barpath Fitness, the greatest advantage of the Bulgarian Split Squat is that while it's a one-sided step it lets you gain strength and endurance one leg at a time, "which is perfect to build up weaknesses in one limb compared to the other," she says. Besides hitting your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves (aka all of your lower body), the motion will also give you some indirect core training as you activate your abs to stabilize yourself and hold your torso upright.

How To Perform A Bulgarian Split Squat?

  1. Take a bench, chair, or some other kind of raised platform (ideally between 12 and 16 inches), and position it behind you. You can start with your back foot on the floor if you're new to the step, then work your way up to elevating it. 
  2. Stand in front of the bench a full step back, and put the top of your non-working foot on the surface in an elevated lunging stance. "See to it that your foot hangs off the edge so that your back leg can go easily up and down," Topel says. Furthermore, make sure that the top of your foot is flat (as opposed to pushing your toes towards the bench), which Kollath says will allow optimum stress in the working front leg.
  3. The shoulder-width of your feet should be divided, so your front leg should be a half step in front of you, so your back leg should be a half step behind you. "Feel free to slightly change either foot so you're relaxed, and make sure your front foot is far enough out that your knee won't drop past your toes as you lower," says Topel.
  4. Tilt your torso about 15 degrees forward, and take a nice deep breath while you brace your heart.
  5. Slowly lower your torso like you are performing a stationary lung with your hands on your hips (or holding onto a pole for balance if you need to). "You can feel a deep stretch in the front of your back-facing leg, and a gentle stretch in the front-facing leg glute," Topel says. "Using your back foot to stabilize and push with your firmly planted front foot to lift your body back to the rim." Kollath continues that you can keep your chest up with a gentle lean forward to maintain a neutral spine.
When you have been able to do three sets of 12 reps on each side, Topel recommends adding additional resistance in some hand weights.

You Make The Biggest Mistakes When They Do Bulgarian Split Squats

Now that you know the right way to do a split squat in Bulgaria, it's important to avoid common mistakes that could mess with your form and keep you from getting the most out of the jump. Will coaches see the biggest one? To keep the upper body upright too. "You want to maintain a slight forward tilt in your torso to allow full motion range with your knee, which is slightly counterintuitive because most people are trained to keep their head and chest upright while performing a squat move," says Topel. "Tilting a little more stresses the quads, while staying more upright but still leaning forward, will help to accentuate the glutes." He notes that 15 degrees are the perfect spot to get it right.

You'll also want to make sure you keep track of your knees correctly while you push your body up and down. "See to it that your knees stay in line with your feet," Kollath says. "Your shin doesn't have to be fully vertical — the knee can still go over the toe — but you do want to make sure that your heel remains flat on the floor so that you can push through it when you stand up." Keep your front foot far enough away from the bench (about half a step away) to combat this question.

Amp Up Your Bulgarian Split Squats

When you have down the OG version of the transfer, you can change up stuff to hit various parts of your body a little bit.

To Work The Glutes

In the typical version of the move, place your front foot slightly farther out in front of your body than you should, "as if you were taking a long walk," says Topel. "It decreases the knee bend when you do the squat, which moves the load further towards the glutes," he says.

To Work Your Quads

When you go up and down in your squat, position your front foot slightly closer to your body than you usually would, which will cause your quads to work harder than your glutes. A higher bench may also be used to amplify the stretch in the back leg.

To Work Your Core

Keep a kettlebell in front of your torso, which Topel says will add some weight and build tension that will push you to engage more of your heart.

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