When looking for leg training exercises, there are many benefits of the Bulgarian split squat that make it a great option! It is a highly versatile exercise, with specific goals that it can perform quite well for. Below is a list of the main benefits of the Bulgarian split squat that I will be going over within this article!
- Unilateral Training
- Substitution Exercise
- Exercise Versatility
Let’s kick it off with the first benefit of the Bulgarian split squat, the unilateral benefits!
Unilateral training is a very important component to include in your training routine, this is mainly because it helps work on muscle imbalances. In addition to that, it’s awesome for working on single leg stability which then translates into stability on two legs which benefits things like the back squat. Lastly, unilateral training can often times be good for isolating/feeling the muscle you’re trying to work, activate more. Allow me to explain these topics in more detail below.
When training with bilateral movements, you can develop muscle imbalances (or further preexisting ones). Unilateral training forces you to use one side of your body for the movements, therefore, eliminating this problem. It helps to ensure imbalances don’t further progress, and if you prioritize one side over the other, you can actually work towards evening them out.
The stability portion of unilateral training is also huge! This because if you want to lift heavy, you need to be able to utilize your capability to lift heavy weights (your strength) with stability to actually be able to lift the heavyweight. When you’re on one leg, like in the Bulgarian split squat for example, you are demanding more stability in key areas like the hip, knee and foot. This will have good carry over to your main compound movements like the squat.
Lastly, when performing unilateral movements, they often times allows you to feel the muscle your trying to work, activate more. This could be due in part to the different movement pattern in this specific exercise, or the ability to focus on training that one side of your body. This would be applicable to all unilateral exercises if this is the case.
For people who have knee pain when trying to perform the squat, or have trouble reaching depth because of certain limitations, the Bulgarian split squat can be a great option for them! This because it can often times work around some of these issues and has some main benefits of the squat, plus its own!
If people have knee pain in the squat it can be caused by the pressure put on the knees when reaching a certain depth. The Bulgarian split squat keeps the shin more perpendicular to the ground, putting less stress on the knee. Always make sure you are consulting a doctor when trying to train around an injury and or pain! As far as reaching depth limitations for the squat goes, the Bulgarian split squat can be beneficial. This is because it requires less ankle mobility due to the more perpendicular shin angle. Also, if someone has difficulty reaching depth in the squat for a non-specific reason, the Bulgarian split squat may be a good option as it opens the hips up and provides a more “free” range of motion.
Like mentioned above, the Bulgarian split squat has some similar features to a standard back squat such as being able to load it heavy and perform it in the lower rep ranges. If you combine that with the stability training benefits of this exercise you have yourself a great strength training movement. You can also turn it into a plyometric exercise which is great for power training and has good carry over to training for strength.
If you’re looking to use the Bulgarian split squat as an exercise for hypertrophy, the potentially increased mind-muscle connection can be one benefit. While the unilateral component of the exercise also has its benefits for exercise variation and such.
All in all, the Bulgarian split squat has many applications within training. From its many benefits that stem from its unilateral nature, to its possible substitution for exercises like the squat, all the way to the many goals you can apply the exercise to! Whatever your goals may be, the Bulgarian split squat may very well be a viable option for you!
I thank you for taking the time to read this article! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.