The Bulgarian Split Squat – A Comprehensive Guide

General Fitness

After returning from a rejuvenating holiday in Cornwall, I’m excited to jump back into my fitness routine and share some insights about one of my favourite exercises – the Bulgarian Split Squat.

Introduction to the Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a powerful lower body exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Unlike traditional squats, this exercise emphasises unilateral strength, helping to correct muscle imbalances and improve overall stability and coordination. Here at Phoenix Fitness we regularly include this awesome exercise into our routines.

Benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Glute Activation: The Bulgarian Split Squat is renowned for its ability to effectively target the glutes. The deep range of motion and unilateral nature of the exercise ensures that the glute muscles are engaged throughout the movement. This leads to better muscle activation and growth, which is especially desirable for those looking to tone and build their glutes.
  2. Leg Strength: By focusing on one leg at a time, the Bulgarian Split Squat helps to build significant strength in the quadriceps and hamstrings. This can translate to improved performance in other exercises and activities, from running to weightlifting.
  3. Improved Balance and Stability: This exercise requires balance and coordination, as the rear leg is elevated while the front leg bears most of the weight. This not only enhances muscle coordination but also helps to improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of injury.
  4. Functional Fitness: The Bulgarian Split Squat mimics real life movements, making it a functional exercise that improves your ability to perform daily activities with ease. Whether you’re climbing stairs or picking up heavy objects, this exercise prepares your body for the demands of everyday life.

Proper Technique

To get the most out of the Bulgarian Split Squat and avoid injury, it’s crucial to perform it with proper form. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Starting Position: Stand a few feet away from a bench or step, facing away from it. Place one foot behind you on the bench, ensuring your toe is anchored securely.
  2. Lowering Phase: Engage your core and slowly lower your body by bending your front knee. Make sure your front knee stays in line with your toes and does not extend beyond them. Your back knee should come close to the ground.
  3. Rising Phase: Push through your front heel to return to the starting position. Maintain a straight back and avoid leaning forward excessively.
  4. Repetitions: Complete 8-12 repetitions on one leg before switching to the other leg.

Handy Tip

To avoid back pain and ensure maximum effectiveness, focus on keeping your core tight and maintaining an upright posture throughout the movement. If you feel discomfort in your lower back, adjust your stance or reduce the range of motion until you can perform the exercise comfortably.

Fun Fact

Did you know the Bulgarian Split Squat got its name thanks to a bit of espionage? The American Olympic lifting team observed the Bulgarian weightlifters performing this exercise and were impressed by its benefits. They adopted it into their training regimen and named it after the Bulgarian athletes who popularised it.


Incorporating the Bulgarian Split Squat into your fitness routine can bring numerous benefits, from stronger legs to a well toned bum. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a fitness newbie, this exercise can help you achieve your goals. Remember, consistency and proper form are key!

For a visual guide and a handy tip on how to get the position correct, check out our YouTube video: