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Unsure of Form with Bulgarian Split-Squats

Hi guys, sorry for such a newb question, but I’m hoping someone can help.

I’m trying to build up my atrophied right leg, due to a major knee operation. I’m currently doing bodyweight split-squats followed by lunges and the leg press.
However, when I’m doing the split-squats it’s as if my good leg is using the quads to ‘pull’ myself up and ends up getting very tired. Is this normal, is or my form (as I suspect) horrendous?

Can anyone give advice on how to better perform this exercise?


I know the feeling, but since I have two good legs, I never considered a big issue, since both do it equally. (Though not to any great degree.)

On your back foot, is the toe pointed down, so that your foot is at 90 degrees to the bench, or is it pointed back, so that the top of the foot is on the bench? Placing the top of the foot on the bench somewhat reduces the ability to cheat, since the foot is more likely to slide forward if you try to really pull with it. You may need a slightly higher bench to get the range you want, though.

Also, maybe pausing at the bottom and giving yourself some time to think about driving with the weaker leg might do the trick.

If it was weighted, you’d able to play with how you’re holding the weight (goblet, suitcase or on the back), to see if that helped, but since it’s unweighted, changing how much you’re leaning forward might help. I would guess that a slight forward lean, putting more weight over the bad leg might force it to do more of the work.

Thanks for the reply :slight_smile: I’ll give it a try when I hit the gym tonight.

Silent Bob- Sorry this is a little late but I just joined yesterday. I also had a knee surgery 7 weeks ago and have been doing more single leg work. I tried split squats for the first time yesterday (great exercise) and think there are 2 cues that might help you to keep the weight on the front foot.

First, push through your heels. This will help with balance and keep you centered. Second, be sure to keep your chest high and your torso upright. If you fall forward or to the side, it will throw you off and your back leg will compensate. It’s really a balance issue I think.

Here is a quick video of them. I put the bar out front just to stress the quads and core more but the same principles apply if you do them with dumbells or bodyweight.

Good luck with your rehab!


[quote]bruno082985 wrote:
First, push through your heels. This will help with balance and keep you centered.

Best bit advice I ever got in terms of balance

Oh and depend how far out your lead foot is changes the muscles emphasized when you lunge. The further out you are the more hamstring and glute involvement there is. I’m assuming from your description that you are doing them with a short “stance” and therefore using your quads more.Nothing wrong with that if that is your intention.

My 2 cents anyways :slight_smile:

if balance truly is a problem, take off youe shoes. You may end up getting weird looks from people at the gym though.