The Bulgarian Split Squat: Fixing the 2 Most Common Mistakes…Fast!

by Jordan Syatt April 27, 2015

The Bulgarian Split Squat is simultaneously one of the best and worst drills ever created.

It’s great because it’s arguably the single best exercise for improving single-leg strength and stability in addition to offering a variety of mobility, hypertrophy, balance, and proprioceptive benefits.

It’s awful because it’ll gas you out just as fast as the prowler and give you the worst case of DOMS you could ever imagine. 

For all of those reasons and more, I love the Bulgarian Split Squat and use it nearly all of my training cycles. Here’s a video of me doing 3 x 5 with 225lbs.

A video posted by Jordan Syatt (@syattfitness) on

Unfortunately, many coaches and lifters royally screw it up.

To end the confusion once and for all, below I’ve provided 2 videos outlining a couple ways most people screw up the Bulgarian Split Squat and exactly how you can correct it to make sure you get the most bang for you buck.

And if you aren’t sure what the Bulgarian Split Squat is or how to perform it at all, you can watch my brief instructional video.

The Bulgarian Split Squat: How to Fix the 2 Most Common Mistakes…FAST!

Mistake #1: Pelvis Position

Staying tall and upright is one of the most common cues coaches give their clients to improve technique in a variety of movements. 

But for the Bulgarian Split, trying to stand completely straight up so your torso is perpendicular to the floor tends to do more harm than good. 

Why?

Without going into excruciating detail (watch the video for a better visual), when your rear foot is elevated and you try to stand completely straight up you tend to slip into excessive anterior pelvic and lumbar hyperextension. 

What follows is a “blocked” range of motion (ROM) at the hip and subsequently excessive movement at the knee. Needless to say, these compensations negate numerous benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat including glute and quad recruitment as well as improved hip mobility and core stability. 

The Fix?

Instead of trying to stand completely straight up, lean your torso slightly forward about 25-35 deg. 

This slight forward lean will make it easier to maintain a neutral spine position, use a full (and joint friendly) ROM,  and get the most bang for your buck from both a strength and hypertrophy standpoint. 

Mistake #2: Foot Position

Finding the best foot position for the Bulgarian Split Squat is the most frustrating aspect of the entire movement.

Holding onto a heavy weight, hopping forward and backward while trying not to fall over and look like an uncoordinated rhino just gets obnoxious after a while.

What’s funny, though, is there’s a really quick and simple fix to help you find the best foot position for the Bulgarian Split Squat immediately and never worry about it again.

The Fix

Watch the short video above.

Trust me, you’ll thank me and then wonder “why the hell didn’t I think of that!?

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