Bulgarian Split Squats with References

Postural Restoration® uses something called references in their exercises. These references are areas of the body that need to be sensed correctly in order for muscles to be recruited appropriately.

For example, a very important reference is the left heel. In order to walk and breathe utilizing the proper muscles at the proper time, we need to initiate walking with heel strike.

Heel strike ensures our left hamstring kicks in to posteriorly rotate our left pelvis. Without a left hamstring, you don’t have much.

In the typical left AIC pattern, our weight is shifted forward because our left pelvis rotates forward compared to the right side. In this pelvic position our left hamstring will not activate properly.

Once the left pelvis rotates forward, our weight falls more anteriorly on our left foot. Instead of sensing our left heel, we sense our weight on our left mid-foot/arch area.

Over on the right side the situation is reversed. In the left AIC pattern our right pelvis is often posteriorly rotated which results in the weight on our right foot being sensed back towards the heel and towards the outside of the foot. This causes the someone to walk with all their weight on the outside of their right foot and they will never sense their arch or big toe.

This is not proper walking mechanics.

So we have:

  1. Left Foot: weight sensed at midfoot/ball and inside arch. Left heel is not being sensed.
  2. Right foot: weight sensed at heel/outside border. Right arch and big toe are not being sensed.

You can test this for yourself. If you stand with your feet parallel and underneath your hips, try to sense where your weight is being carried.

You may find it to match the scenario above. It’s quite common, but not everyone ends up like this.

The important thing to realize is that if we can’t sense our left heel and right arch/big toe we won’t activate our muscles correctly as we walk and we will be forced to move, walk, run, jump, throw, and lift with compensation.

We can include references in common exercises like a Bulgarian split squat:

a picture of a bulgarian split squat

I go into further detail about references and how they can be used on my other site:




  1. Przemek says

    Hi Neal, I quickly wanted to ask you for advice because of something you have said on your site. Or rather something you have quoted Ron Hruska as saying.

    But first a brief run down of my situation. I have been suffering from Left AIC pattern for probably 15 years now. It all started when i jumped off a roof and landed mostly on my butt, with the L5-S1 joint taking the brunt of impact.

    I have seen my local pri provider and i have even visited with Ron Hruska and Heidi Wise in Lincoln NE twice. None of the exercises prescribed by PRI could restore my stubborn pelvis into neutral position. However when Ron and Heidi prescribed corrective eye glasses with a prism my pelvis finally returned to neutral! All my pain went away, my breathing was no longer restricted and my body felt strong again!

    Unfortunately this only lasted for a few days and soon my body returned to its dysfunctional ways again. My brain had gotten used to the prism glasses and would no longer be fooled.

    So now I am lost as to what to do or try next. All the PRI exercises like the 90-90 hip lift, Left Sidelying Right Glute Max, and so on fail to pull my left hemi pelvis back into its neutral position.

    I have always trained the PRI exercises very hard, like a powerlifter or strength athlete focused on building strength and growing the muscle. So when i read this statement on your site –

    “a fascinating point is that no amount of stretching, massage, therapy, or strength training would have fixed these issues. As Ron Hruska, the founder of Postural Restoration repeatedly emphasizes, this training is “neuro”.

    it made me realize that that is exactly what i have been doing – just strength training and stretching. Instead of focusing on the “neuro” part.

    I am desperate to fix my left aic pattern and focusing on the neuro seems like the key to my recovery. My question to you is how do i emphasize the “neuro” while doing the corrective exercises? Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

      • Przemek says

        I saw them twice. They never mentioned that my problem is mainly a visual issue. Along with the glasses they prescribed corrective exercises.

        Your site and videos are super helpful and i’m getting new ideas on how else to tackle this problem. For example, you wrote that no amount of activating the hamstring in a 90-90 hip lift exercise is going to make a difference unless the hip flexors are inhibited. Reading that has been a huge Ah Ha moment as my TFL is always coming into play in just about any exercise I do and I have no mind-muscle connection with my Gluteus Medius!

        Thanks to you I am now dedicating my time to retraining my mind to activate my gluteus medius instead of the tfl while doing any of the exercises. I’m using the right side lying Hemi 90-90 Left Glute Med with TFL Inhibition against a door frame exercise. An exercise I have always ignored. It’s really hard to turn off the tfl while at the same time activating the glute med but i’m getting better at it.

        Thank you for the reply and thank you for explaining postural restoration in such an easy way to understand.

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