The barbell Bulgarian split squat is a compound exercise which builds muscle and strength in the quadriceps and glutes primarily. But the hamstrings, calves, and core also get worked as secondary muscles in the movement. Now, this is not necessarily a beginner’s exercise because it does require a lot of balance to do properly and effectively.

But, practicing with just bodyweight resistance or light dumbbells is a great way to develop balance. This exercise is a phenomenal movement for overall leg development and will target your leg muscles with a different stimulus conducive to muscle hypertrophy.

So, always try to include it in your leg workout routines for optimal results.

In This Exercise:

  • Target Muscle Groups: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus
  • Type: Strength
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Equipment: Barbell, bench
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Instructions

  1. Place and hold a fixed barbell on your back as if you were doing a back squat.
  2. Then, place the top of your left foot on the bench and position your right foot about three to four feet in front of you.
  3. Now, squat down and keep your torso straight until your legs are at a 90-degree angle. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Push up through the heel of your right foot but don’t lock out your knees at the top. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  5. Complete the desired number of reps.
  6. Repeat exercise with your right foot on the bench and left leg in front of you on the floor.

Variations & Tips:

  • You can use dumbbells as an alternative.
  • Do this exercise with just your bodyweight if you’re a beginner before advancing to weighted split squats.
  • Keep your torso in a neutral position. Do not lean too forward or backward to keep the weight balanced through your heels.
  • The barbell Bulgarian split squat works all of the leg muscles and core effectively.

Watch: How to do the barbell Bulgarian split squat