If stronger legs and glutes are what you’re looking for then Bulgarian split squats are what you should be implementing in to your leg day workouts.
What Are Bulgarian Split Squats?
Bulgarian split squats are where you have one leg behind you, elevated off of the ground, on either a bench or step. The other leg is out in front of you. You then squat down, controlling the movement through your glutes and quads. On the way up, you push the floor away from you through your heel, contracting your quads and glutes at the same time. This exercise targets many of the same muscles as a traditional squat. With an emphasis on the quads if you have a straight back with your legs closer together. Or, more glute focused if your legs are further apart and you’re leaning forwards.
How Does It Differ From Other Squats?
Although the split squat is similar to that of the single leg squat (pistol squat), there are so quite big differences. With a split squat you can get a much deeper squat, activating the quads and glutes even more. Also, with a split squat you have a stabilising leg giving you more stability in the exercise. Whereas in a pistol (single leg) squat, you don’t have the extra stability as your resting leg is out in front of you.
To ensure you have the correct technique, below is a video from the glute guru Bret Contreras who knows EVERYTHING when it comes to growing the glutes.
Why Split Squats
Split squats are so great when it comes to growing the glutes as they create damage in the glute muscles due to the deep eccentric stretch. A great way to incorporate this exercise in to your routine would be to superset it with another, heavier exercise such as a hip thrust or weighted squat.
How to know if you’re doing it correctly? The best way to know if you have the correct technique would be to start off doing it with no weight so you can really feel your muscles engaging. Remember to engage your glutes throughout the exercise and push the floor away with your heel.
If you find you’re feeling a strain through your knees, it’s generally because you aren’t controlling the movement through your glutes and quads properly. If this is the case, drop any additional weight you might be using and go back to bodyweight only. Really think about the muscle you’re trying to contract and work on your mind muscle connection first. Once you can’t feel it in your knees, and more though your quads and glutes, you know you have the proper technique. It can take some time to get used to, so keep it at. It will come!
The Fitness Focus Team