Bulgarian Split Squats

The squat is one of the most basic and effective exercises individuals have been using for years to burn extra calories and add lower body strength. Bulgarian split squats take the exercise to a more demanding level by having you raise your back leg onto a bench or chair. 

This challenging exercise can seem extremely difficult at first as you try to maintain your balance while doing the squat exercise correctly -- especially if you are holding free weights like dumbbells.

There aren't many exercises that can firm your butt and legs as quickly as squats, and because they don't require any special exercise equipment you can do them almost anywhere that you can find a raised level for your back leg.

Bulgarian Split Squats

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by holding a pair of dumbbells (optional) at arm's length on either side.
  • Standing in a staggered stance with your left foot in front of your right, place your back foot on the bench (as pictured). Your front knee should be bent slightly.

  • Engage your core and lower your body straight down. Keep the downward motion slow. Stop when your rear leg is almost in contact with the floor and your front thigh is close to being parallel to the floor.

  • Return to the starting position and either continue the next rep with the opposite leg or just do a set with one leg and repeat the next set with the other leg.

bulgarian split squat position #1
bulgarian split squat position #2Kim Demonstrating Bulgarian Split Squats


  • Beginners should get comfortable doing the squats without weights until good balance is not an issue.

  • The higher you are able to elevate your rear foot, the more intense the exercise will be.

  • Be sure to maintain good form to avoid injury. The squat motion is a natural movement for our bodies.


  • Tones Lower Body: Squats have always been the best exercise for tightening and lifting the legs and butt. The elevation in the Bulgarian split squats increases the intensity of the exercise which helps to tone all of the muscles in the lower body.
  • Core Strength: Squats engage all of the major muscles of your core just by you trying to keep your balance and stability during the exercise. This action alone will tone the abs and strengthen spine supporting stocks in the lower back. Try and engage your abdominal muscles when doing squats and lunges.

  • Flexibility: Squat exercises will open the hip joints and muscles that will immediately increase your flexibility and mobility. The ankles, knees, and lower back are all utilized with squats.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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