Squats will be to leg day as sheet masks will be to #selfcaresunday: essential. As many nose and mouth mask options as there are on the planet, there might be even more variations of the classic booty-building move. There are goblet squats, sumo squats, barbell back squats, jump squats, and loads more. Trust us, squats aren\’t going anywhere soon-but there\’s one variation your routine may be missing.
Enter: The Bulgarian split squat-also referred to as the trunk foot elevated split squat or simply just a split squat. \”Bulgarian split squats are one of the best movements for developing glute, quad, hamstring, and core strength since it is a unilateral exercise-meaning it works and strengthens one leg at any given time,\” certified personal trainer Quianna Camper, a trainer with RSP Nutrition, tells Health.
Why is unilateral leg training this type of problem? According to physiotherapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist Grayson Wickham, founding father of Movement Vault, it comes down to compensation. \”Most individuals are not perfectly symmetrical. So their right leg or glute might be stronger compared to left, meaning when you perform a normal squat, the stronger side will compensate,\” he says. \”Single-leg exercises such as the split squat can help fix those muscle imbalances by developing that lower-body and core strength symmetrically.\” Some investigation even shows that unilateral exercises are more efficient for building strength than bilateral movements such as the standard squat. (Talk about upgrading your leg day).
Because you have to activate your core during Bulgarian split squats in order to keep your chest upright, Camper says, \”they also help you build core strength, and also the advantage of that is it improves your overall balance and stability.\” Translation: Add Bulgarian split squats for your routine and you\’ll sculpt a peach, strengthen your quads and core, and decrease risk of falling (and for that reason injury) as you age.
Ready to feel the booty burn? Below, Wickham and Camper take you step-by-step through how to perform a Bulgarian split squat, plus a few variations from the super-effective single-leg move.
Start standing together with your feet hip-width apart, facing away from a box, bench, or chair that\’s no higher than your knees. Extend your left leg back and set the top your foot (aka laces down) on the box. If this is uncomfortable in your left ankle, you might want to pad your left ankle with a yoga mat or towel. Then, readjust your right leg to ensure that you\’re standing 12