T Nation

Bulgarian Split Squats...

…kick ass!

Unfortunately, it was MY ass they kicked this morning! Today was the first day with putting them into the Leg rotation, and what an educational experience it was!

A few questions for veterans:

  1. Who else actually does these?

  2. About the placement for the back foot on the bench: I started trying to concentrate on putting the back foot in line with the knee of that leg, as if I were standing and just bent at the knee. But it became more comfortable (and felt more stable) if I let it slide to one side and just concentrated on the front leg that was doing the thrusting. Is there some biomechanical necessity for the placeemnt of the back foot in relation to the rest of the body or the forward foot? (If you don’t understand this paragraph, I have to assume you haven’t tried this exercise; get to the squat rack with a bench behind you and try these, THEN come back to this thread.)

My lifting partner said afterward: “It’s days like today that make me realize that, if you aren’t doing Legs regularly, you aren’t training.” Yep.

I do them too. I’m not sure about the biomechanics regarding back foot placement. I like to set the bench high so I get a good hip flexor stretch at the time. I just concentrate on keeping my laces flat against the bench and that does the trick for balance.

Hope that helps.

I did them on Sunday, and yes, they kicked my ass too! There is no other exercise that works as many muscles in the legs at once, I am sore everywhere!

I also find that these are the only exercises that trash my legs. I can do squats, deadlifts, step-ups, and I never get this kind of immense soreness from them. They also show how weak my left leg is from my right, it is much more sore.

I do them all the time. One of the best things I can do without a squat rack.

I just stick my back leg wherever it is comfortable and concentrate on my leg that is doing the work.

I want to add this in our next two week cycle for TBT, we just added lunges and as sissy as everyone always thinks they are, these also kick your ass, Literally.

I actually have a quick question about the lunges. Is there a correct form?? I mean we step and go down on one leg and all of that, but is there a certain way to do it? Does the back leg even matter?

This is pretty similar to the spit squat so I think the advice will carry over.

I wouldn’t say I was a veteran, but I do these as well. I just have my feet hip width apart before I place the back leg up, seems to work well. Also, I really try to keep my back vertical otherwise I find it works your glutes too much. Although lately I am really into deep reverse barbell lunges. They destroy the legs as well.

Todd,

My advice with Lunges is:

  1. Use DBs, so that if you find yourself losing balance when forcing out reps you can just open your hands.

  2. The back leg is important (to me) in so far as I need to be able to bring that knee down to the floor (without smashing the kneecap). You need to move the forward foot far enough that the back leg has room to bend all the way down. (Don’t know if that helps or just muddies the water.)

And my forward foot tends to want to point inward for BSS and Lunges, whereas correct squat form is to point toes forward or slightly outward. I try not to be too pigeon-toed when doing these, but it raises in my mind a question of biomechanics: what’s the balance between “comfortable” form and “correct” form?

For instance, in my post above I mention starting out trying to line up the back foot, then just letting it find a spot where it is comfortable so I can easily piston with the forward foot/leg. But am I being sloppy by finding the “comfy” spot? Am I creating an imbalance?

I’m a veteran and I do BSS and lunges. The two are not necessarily related, they just happen. Can’t beat unilateral leg work for several reasons.

  1. Will make you aware of R/L imbalance.
  2. WAAAAAAAY tougher than squats on the legs.
  3. Can actually help fix some knee tracking problems.
  4. Most sports are played on 1 leg at a time. Why not train that way.
    And I’m sure there are more.

On lunges I make sure the abs stay really tight, so that there is no movement of the upper body. I drop the back knee directly below the hip. On BSS, I don’t think the position of the back foot is that critical, just don’t push of it. On both of these, when you rise up try LIFTING the heel of your back foot toward your butt. I prevents you from pushing with the back leg and puts all the load on the front leg.

TNT

[quote]
A few questions for veterans:

  1. Who else actually does these?

  2. About the placement for the back foot on the bench…[/quote]

I’ve done them. Will probably do them tonight actually.

With your back foot, is it really comfort that you’re feeling, or are you pushing a little with the back foot? If you’re pushing I can see how it might feel more comfortable to have it splayed out (for lack of better term). I find that if I’m keeping my glutes tight (are you?) my foot feels right at home directly in line with the leg and knee.

I did them for the first time on Monday night, quickly found out I had balancing issues, LOL! I found that I had to let the back foot drift to the side a bit, about shoulder width, to help me balance. I just worked on form with very light dumbells, but I can see how they would destroy you with heavy loads.

I tried them in place of back squats today, and I had a problem getting into position, but apart from that, these suckers really do kick ass. I was doing 2 light sets of 12 to get used to the movement, and it still made my glutes sore!

I’m under the impression that its the same as a lunge, with the only change being in your back foot is on a bench.

Just forcus on front leg. The high placement of back foot creates a stretch for the rear quad/hip flexor, and many of my clients state that they feel greater activation in the rear leg believe it or not. laterally, your feet should be shoulder-width apart (even though the rear foot is elevated obviously). In other words, don’t do these “on a tightrope.”

[quote]TShaw wrote:
…kick ass!

Unfortunately, it was MY ass they kicked this morning! Today was the first day with putting them into the Leg rotation, and what an educational experience it was!

A few questions for veterans:

  1. Who else actually does these?

  2. About the placement for the back foot on the bench: I started trying to concentrate on putting the back foot in line with the knee of that leg, as if I were standing and just bent at the knee. But it became more comfortable (and felt more stable) if I let it slide to one side and just concentrated on the front leg that was doing the thrusting. Is there some biomechanical necessity for the placeemnt of the back foot in relation to the rest of the body or the forward foot? (If you don’t understand this paragraph, I have to assume you haven’t tried this exercise; get to the squat rack with a bench behind you and try these, THEN come back to this thread.)

My lifting partner said afterward: “It’s days like today that make me realize that, if you aren’t doing Legs regularly, you aren’t training.” Yep.[/quote]

Thanks for all the feedback!

RIT Jared: Good point about using the back leg to do some of the pushing. Right now, trying to think back “proprioceptively,” I’m not sure how much I was using the supported foot to lever myself back up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was, in fact, the case.

Charles: thanks for the advice on positioning.

[quote]Charles Staley wrote:
Just forcus on front leg. The high placement of back foot creates a stretch for the rear quad/hip flexor, and many of my clients state that they feel greater activation in the rear leg believe it or not. laterally, your feet should be shoulder-width apart (even though the rear foot is elevated obviously). In other words, don’t do these “on a tightrope.”

TShaw wrote:
…kick ass!

Unfortunately, it was MY ass they kicked this morning! Today was the first day with putting them into the Leg rotation, and what an educational experience it was!

A few questions for veterans:

  1. Who else actually does these?

  2. About the placement for the back foot on the bench: I started trying to concentrate on putting the back foot in line with the knee of that leg, as if I were standing and just bent at the knee. But it became more comfortable (and felt more stable) if I let it slide to one side and just concentrated on the front leg that was doing the thrusting. Is there some biomechanical necessity for the placeemnt of the back foot in relation to the rest of the body or the forward foot? (If you don’t understand this paragraph, I have to assume you haven’t tried this exercise; get to the squat rack with a bench behind you and try these, THEN come back to this thread.)

My lifting partner said afterward: “It’s days like today that make me realize that, if you aren’t doing Legs regularly, you aren’t training.” Yep.

[/quote]

Really good advice, thanks coach!