The Bulgarian split squat is a great exercise for building your quads and glutes.
There are two potential pitfalls I see when doing this exercise.
- Over arching the lower back
- Having the front foot too far back so that it is not underneath the knee.
Foot placement is relatively easy to fix. Just line the foot up so that when you descend, the knee doesn’t travel too far in front of the foot.
In order to not over-arch the lower back, you can try holding your arms straight out in front of you, as I show in the video. I also perform a very slight posterior pelvic tilt/forward lean.
The arms in front variation means you can only use your bodyweight, but the use of the “scanning eyes” technique will make things more challenging (#6 below)
Note that the first two repetitions are done the traditional way. After that I show how I get into the alternative positioning which includes: arms out in front, inhalation with rib cage expansion at the top of each rep, and “scanning eyes” which you can’t see.
- Line your foot up slightly in front of your hip. Some people have their toe resting on the bench/box behind you, others tend to lay the top of their foot on the surface.
2. Keep your weight from the midfoot to the heel for the foot on the floor.
3. Hold your arms straight out in front of you, then lower them slightly so they are on a slight diagonal.
4. Inhale in the top position. Think about expanding your ribcage outward from all sides as you inhale rather than letting your chest rise.
5. Descend straight down and exhale slowly during the entire repetition (down and up)
6. Let your eyes scan the room in front of you from side to side during each repetition.
As I mentioned, the “scanning eyes” technique has the ability to make this simple bodyweight exercise a whole lot more difficult.
This is because your brain uses your vision to stabilize your body.
Without even thinking about it, we tend to focus on one point in front of us as we do each rep. If we take away our visual stabilization, your balance will be challenged as your brain now only has your feet to give it sensory feedback as to where your body is in relation to the floor.
Scan the room in front of you from side to side, and don’t fix your eyes on any one spot.