Target muscle: Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius)
Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus
Dynamic stabilizers (not highlighted): Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
Force: Push Starting position
Holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides, stand with your back facing the side of a bench. There should be three or four feet of space between you and the bench.
Extend one leg backward and place the top of your foot on the bench so that your body is being supported by only one leg.
Keeping your torso upright, inhale as you squat down with your supporting leg until the knee of your back leg nearly touches the floor.
Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position, driving through your heel.
Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Repeat the exercise with your opposite leg.
Comments and tips
Keep your torso upright.
Keep your foot flat on the floor and the knee and foot of your supporting leg pointing forward.
When you squat, your front knee should not pass your toes.
The wider your legs are split, the more you will emphasize your gluteus maximus instead of your quadriceps.
The dumbbell Bulgarian split squat is an effective auxiliary exercise for improving your squat and lunge. It is also great for enhancing your balance and developing unilateral functional strength.
Use the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat after your primary lower-body exercises.
To promote equal contralateral strength (equal strength in both sides), start with your weak leg, and do not do more repetitions with your strong leg.
Also known as the single-leg dumbbell split squat and the back-foot-elevated split squat.
Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat video