By: Dr. St Jean
The Bulgarian Single-Leg Squat is by far one of my favorite single-leg exercises. Unlike traditional double-leg squat and lunge techniques, it’s a beast for developing strength and stability from a single-leg standpoint.
What Muscles Are You Using?
The Bulgarian Single-Leg Squat is going to hit your hamstrings, your glute’s and your quadriceps. It will hit your quads especially hard. This translates into an increase in overall strength and stability for your lower extremity.
But wait, there is more.
It’s also considered a functional and compound movement. Working your legs in this way actually will yield benefit in your everyday life. It’s much more than just aesthetics. By performing this exercise properly, you’ll enhance flexibility, mobility and proprioception in your lower extremity. If you are ready to take action to identify and eliminate the underlying root cause of your pain, schedule a free consult with me by clicking here.
Bulgarian Single Leg Squat Instructions
Follow these step by step directions to perform the Bulgarian Single Leg Squat properly. Please keep in mind, if you have any balance related issues, do not perform this exercise alone. Make sure there is someone there to assist you, or that you have something to grab a hold of in case you lose your balance:
(1) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing away from the bench (back towards bench).
(2) Place the instep of your rear foot on the bench and spread your feet approximately 3 feet apart.
(3) Movement should be initiated from your hips. Lower your hips toward the floor so that your rear knee comes close to the floor.
(4) Pause in this position and drive through your front heel to return to the starting position.
For beginners, start by using your body weight and working on proper form. Once you get the form down and the exercise feels comfortable in your body, grab a medicine ball to make it more challenging. If your feeling like really challenging yourself, grab some dumbbells to hold on either side of you.
The variables for this exercise depend on what your trying to accomplish. For general purposes, perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps. This will be a good starting place.
What Not To Do
All too often when visiting gyms throughout Chicago I notice poor form. This is unfortunate for two reasons. The first, is the individual performing the exercise improperly could easily injure themselves. That’s never fun.
The second, if the exercise was executed with the correct form, the individual would reap more benefits by performing it properly. With that said, avoid the following when doing the Bulgarian Single Leg Squat:
(1) Make sure not to bend your torso forward. Keep your chest upright and your cervical spine neutral. Brace your abdomen and engage your glute’s.
(2) Do not allow the rear knee to hit the ground and avoid the front knee from translating past the toes. Remember, the knees are following the hips. In this exercise, the dropping of the hips downward toward the ground will help keep you on track knee wise. The knees will follow if hip form is correct.
To learn more about stretching, performance/corrective/functional exercise, postural improvement, or getting out of pain, check out my video and article blog. Or, if you are ready to take action to identify and eliminate the underlying root cause of your pain, schedule a free consult with me by clicking here.
Dr. St Jean