Stop F*cking Up Bulgarian Split Squats (PROPER FORM!)

Do you know how to do a bulgarian split squat? If not, you’re in luck. In this video, I am going to show you exactly how to perform a dumbbell bulgarian split squat so that you can perform the exercise every time without making a mistake. Remember, it’s not just what exercise you do, but how you do them that matters the most and I want to make sure that you get your bulgarian split squats form right every time you do them.

Step 1 of this bulgarian split squat tutorial is getting the setup right:

When doing a dumbbell bulgarian split squat, you are going to need a pair of dumbbells and an adjustable or flat bench. I would say that 90 percent of the problems with the exercise and the mistakes made during split squats is on how we position the feet in front of the bench and on top of the bench. Let’s start with the foot placement in front of the bench.

Step 2 of this bulgarian split squat how-to is your front foot position:

Sit down on the bench with the dumbbells held on your thighs. From here, extend one leg out until the knee is straight and the heel is positioned on the ground. This will represent the position of your heel when you stand to do the leg exercise. Before you do anything else however, move the foot out to the side another 2-3 inches.

Step 3 of this bulgarian split squat form guide is your back leg and foot positioning:

With the front heel in the place that you measured in step 2, you will know put your back foot up on the bench. The way you place the foot is critical however. If you put just your toes down on top of the bench then you are likely going to have balance difficulties. The toe is just not enough of a contact point with the bench to keep stability once the movement of the exercise starts. Instead, allow the ankle to fold in naturally and increase your foot/bench contact area by involving the outer portion of the foot and ankle.

Step 4 of this bulgarian split squat how-to is the torso angle:

This is where you get to target the muscles of the legs that you want to focus on with this versatile dumbbell leg exercise. If you want to hit more of the quads then you will want to make sure you keep your torso upright throughout the entire movement. If you want to make this more of a glute focused exercise then you would want to angle your body forward (without rounding your low back) and maintain this slight lean throughout the set.

Step 5 is how low should you go on a bulgarian split squat

This one is easy. You want to be sure that you go low enough that the dumbbells make contact with the floor without fully resting them on the floor. Many people will go low enough but remove the tension from their legs temporarily by disengaging and letting them rest even momentarily. This isn’t correct. You want the dumbbells to make contact but you want to feel their weight in your hands at all time to ensure that they are at no point resting.

Step 6 of how to do dumbbell bulgarian split squats is the intensity techniques that you apply to your sets:

There are so many ways that you can intensify a set of bulgarian split squats to further improve their ability to help you grow bigger legs. The first is by incorporating a pause rep at the bottom of the reps. This will increase the tension in the stretch position of the quads and glutes leading to a better hypertrophy response. The second thing is to take it one step further and perform them as one and a half reps. This will require that you lower to the bottom, come up just half way, go back down and then come back up to the top. This is just more stretch tension on the reps making for an even greater growth stimulus. Finally, you can perform this leg exercise without any dumbbells at all and do them explosively as a plyometric bulgarian split squat.

Now that you know how to bulgarian split squat properly, you will not only be able to set a good example for other gym-goers, but you will eliminate any risks that comes along with the traditionally performed version of this exercise. Remember, it’s not just what exercises you do, but it’s how you do them that matters the most, especially when it comes to form. When it comes to form on a dumbbell bulgarian split squat, how you do it is going to determine whether you are setting yourself up for injury or if you are going to build bigger quads and glutes without that risk.

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