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Bulgarian Split Squats

I’ve been using the bulgarian splt squats on my lower body speed/repitition day. I’m looking to build strength for sport and am not highly concerned with hypertrophy.

What I’m wondering is: what can I do to improve my balance in the movement. It has been a limiting factor, and I’ve been trying to work through it while trying to improve it.

Try doing it with just your bodyweight with your eyes closed… I’d recommend a spotter at first.

Practice obviously.

I’ve been doing BSS for the last few months and they are brutal but i really can’t see them has a speed excercise.

Lunges, jump squats, box squats i can but i’m no expert. :slight_smile:

I used to have the same problem, whenever I did bulgarian split squats. Due to poor balance, my sets would take forever and I would be sore for days after.

What helped me the most was frequency.
I would do a set or two with just my bodyweight every time I was in the gym (3-4 times a week) even when I wasn’t doing lower-body work that day. After a few weeks of doing this I felt my balance improved a great deal. This made weighted sets easier and quicker.

[quote]gdublong29 wrote:
What I’m wondering is: what can I do to improve my balance in the movement. It has been a limiting factor, and I’ve been trying to work through it while trying to improve it. [/quote]

It’ll get better. It took me 3 weeks before my body didn’t flop around like a fish out of water.

Are you using dumbbells or a barbell?

What are you using for foot position on the bench? Is the top of the foot touching the bench, or the sole of the shoe?

How staggered is your stance? Are you on a tight rope, or do you have some width to your base?

How far forward is your lead foot? How far forward does your lead knee travel?

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT ON YOUR FEET?
Thin soled (eg chuck taylors)or something solid with a heal (eg weightlifting boots) may improve your balance. Bare foot would also help your feet actually work to stabilize your body.

Sneakers present a couple issues to balance:

  1. a cushioned thick sole is unstable and there for presents an obstacle to balance.

  2. the ‘support’ that sneakers give you often impede healthy foot development.

Therefor, replace the soft sole with a stable surface and work your bare feet to develop all your strength in the movement.

i found that starting with DBs then going to the bar really helped. i was able to learn the BB movement pretty quickly. just curious, how much weight do you guys use on these? i’m the only one in my college gym who does these so i have no idea what a respectable benchmark would be.

If it’s my main movement for the day, say 4 x 6 or something, I’ll use 90lb DB’s, maybe 95’s for the last set. If it’s my 2nd or 3rd repetition exercise, 2 x 10 or something, then usually just 60lb DB’s.

6’ 185…335squat, 445dl college baseball player

In tai chi most the body weight is kept on one leg during movements so I’ll share what I’ve learned from it.
Focus on keeping most all of your weight on to the heel of the foot, and using the heel as the driving force, not the ball of the foot. It helps if you let your body be weighed down by gravity and release any unnecessary tension in that leg.
And most importantly to remember if nothing else, keep the foot flat! Don’t let it rotate inward or outward. Putting the weight on the heal rather than the ball will cut this down drastically, but not entirely.
And keep the upper body posture as static as possible throughout the movement and travel just vertically. This keeps your center of gravity from shifting and makes keep your balance so much easier.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Are you using dumbbells or a barbell?[/quote]

I’m using dumbells

I use 45-50 lb dumbbells for sets of 8-15.

If you’re wearing something with an elevated heel, ditch it and go with something without a heel.

The first time I tried these, I did 50#ers for sets of 8, and didn’t make it through the last set on each leg because the balance was so hard–I was wearing oly shoes.

I switched to wearing flat-soled martial arts shoes and took it up to 65s/70s pretty easily.

Of couse, there’s a flip side to this: The oly shoes forced my posterior chain to stay contracted through the whole movement, so it was no rest–at the bottom, your posterior chain works to drive up, at the top, it works even harder to balance. Double the pain, double the fun. Somebody should do a doublemint commercial.

I Was wondering can BSS take the place of a squat. for me i have been squatting for a while and i get bored with squat soem times. can i use BSS as an ME of the day

I don’t wear any shoes just socks. I rest my in step on the bench.

Top, i don’t think BSS are a good ME excercise. You want 2 legged excercises for that for balance and coordination, IMO.

bulgarian split squats are one of my favorite exercises for the lower body. Its one of the few exercises that ALWAYs gets me sore the next day. I always do them first thing after the main movement let it be dynamic box squats or max effort squats. Usually ill go for 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps each leg. Ive worked up to 120 each hand for 6 strict reps at 165 pounds. EC’s iso holds with those are great too, just make sure to squeeze your ass as tight as you can while holding the DBs for 15- 25 seconds.

What is the correct foot position on the bench?

If I have the sole of the shoe on the bench, i feel it a lot more on the glute/hem of the leg on the bench and if i have the top of the foot on the bench, i almost feel it entirely on the quads for the bending leg.

I see most of the description pictures/clips with the sole of the shoe on the bench - yesterday (or the day before), CT had a tip that said to squat down almost backwards to keep the squatting knee behind or on top of the foot. I find this very tough to do with the sole of the shoe on the bench. Which is correct, or is it your preference, what do you guys think?

[quote]Modi wrote:
What are you using for foot position on the bench? Is the top of the foot touching the bench, or the sole of the shoe?

How staggered is your stance? Are you on a tight rope, or do you have some width to your base?

How far forward is your lead foot? How far forward does your lead knee travel?[/quote]

I prefer to have the sole of the rear foot on the bench. I feel I have better balance that way, and therefore can use more weight. I try not to push off with the rear foot, letting all the force come from my front foot during the set. If I get into trouble (i.e. failure), I can always get a little cheat from the rear foot to finish the set)

I think it is a matter of preference for most people. However, most illustrations seem to have people place the top of the foot on the bench.

Thoughts anyone?