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Bulgarian Split Squat

August 3, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

One of the best leg exercises to add to your training program is the bulgarian split squat.  Start with a bench behind you.  Facing away from the bench, place one foot on the bench and one foot on the floor about two to three feet in front of the bench.  You will now be in a modified lunge position.  With the bulk of your body weight on the front leg, bend your front knee until your thigh is below parallel and the knee of your trailing leg is grazing the floor.  Pause in this position and then return to a fully upright stance.  Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch sides.

To increase the intensity of this exercise, add external weight such as a barbell across the shoulders or hold dumbbells or a medicine ball.  If you want to engage the core more, hold a dumbbell in only one hand.  The single dumbbell can be placed either in the hand of the forward leg (to create more external resistance for that leg) or in the hand of the trail leg.  This imbalance of external weight will cause the core to engage more to stabilize the unbalanced weight load.

Often the limiting factor for increasing external resistance for a traditional two-legged squat is the low back.  The bulgarian split squat allows you to virtually eliminate the low back as the limiting factor and focus more on the true strength of the forward leg.

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