The dumbbell Bulgarian split squat is a very effective exercise which builds muscle and strength in the legs, and it has plenty of other benefits as well. Now, besides targeting the quads as the main muscle involved in the exercise, the split squat works the glutes, hamstrings, and calves as secondary movers.
The Bulgarian split squat is also great for developing unilateral strength as well as core stabilization which is required to do the exercise effectively. So, it’s a must in any leg routine if you want maximum results. But you do need to have some balance to do the exercise effectively which is why beginners should use only their body weight before progressing to the added resistance.
In This Exercise
- Target Muscle Group: Quadriceps
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Dumbbells, bench
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Grab two dumbbells and position the tip of your right foot on the edge of a bench while your left leg is out in front of you 3-4 feet from the bench.
- Retract your shoulder blades and straighten your back.
- Then, squat down with your left leg until your upper leg is parallel to the floor. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
- Now, squat back up but don’t lock out your knees at the top and exhale.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Then, place the tip of your left foot on the edge of the bench and do the split squats with your right leg for the desired number of reps.
- Alternate between legs for sets.
Variations & Tips:
- You can use a barbell if you’re more advanced.
- Start with very little to no weight if you’re a beginner and you need to develop sufficient balance to do the exercise safely and effectively.
- Keep your back straight and shoulders retracted to ensure optimal balance.
- The Bulgarian split squat is great for developing unilateral strength and balance since you’re working each leg individually.
- This exercise works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core.