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How To Fix Your Bulgarian Split Squats (And Relieve Pain)
As many have noticed, Bulgarian Split Squats are, "the movement that feels like hell, but delivers heavenly results."
And it's true. This type of squat looks easy from a distance, but up close and in performance, it can be super tough due to the unique weight distribution and form it requires. But, we all know what "tough" equals: an opportunity to get stronger!
Let's get into why split squats are so epic, and how you can fix yours if you've been having trouble.
Why Bulgarian Split Squats Are Awesome
- Increases Core Strength, Stabilization, And Balance
If you've ever done a Bulgarian Split Squat, you've noticed that just setting up the movement is an immediate balance and stabilization challenge. This is a great thing, because this gives our entire core some serious engagement, which strengthens our foundational center in order to lend us more stability and power in future movements. A strong core equals better balance, less injuries, better coordination, posture, and even enhanced performance.
- Provides Constant Tension And Less Pressure On Your Spine
Because of your lifted back leg, Bulgarian Split Squats provide continuous tension on your front leg, which can trigger more muscle activation and growth. And also, because the weight isn't centered on your shoulders, your spine is free from heavy loads that can press on lower discs, leading to back pain.
- Improved Mobility
Bulgarian Split Squats put your hips through a deeper range than traditional squats (especially at the bottom of the movement). This can increase hip mobility, which will allow you to squat deeper and target more muscle fibers.
- Can Help With Muscle Imbalances
We often tend to place more or less weight on certain legs during movements, which can lead to one leg being stronger than the other. Since Bulgarian Split Squats isolate each leg, you can make sure each leg is activating fully and not relying on the opposite leg.
How To Do The Bulgarian Split Squat Correctly
Form is important for every movement, and with this one it's even more so! If you've ever experienced knee or back pain during your split squats, try these tips to improve your form:
- First of all… have you wondered which leg is supposed to be the focus?? Generally, the answer is the lead (front) leg! This is because if your chest is too “upright” you will create too much stress on your lower back, causing an anterior pelvic tilt (arch in your lower back). You will also feel way too deep of a stretch on your trail (back) hip flexor which is not the focus for this one!
In this video, my shoulders are slightly in front of my hips.
- Also, try not to let your lead (front) knee shoot too far forward. You will stretch your patella tendon which is no bueno and can cause knee pain. Focus on hinging your hip back and then down vs. forward and back. Load the weight into your hip and stabilize your knee from the ankle up.
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