BuffMother — September 18, 2009 — How to do a Bulgarian or Single leg squat by BuffMother, Michelle Berger www.buffmother.com
Category: Howto & Style
What’s in a Name
Setup & Form
Switch Starting Legs
Transcript: Bulgarian or Single Leg Squat – no weight
Hi. The interesting thing about a lot of exercises that you deal with in bodybuilding and weight training is that there are several different names for basically the same exercise. It all depends on what you grew up calling it, what your friends call it, what your colleagues call it. There’s definitely, with the Bulgarian, there’s a lot of different names for this exercise. You can call it a split squat, a one leg squat, a Bulgarian. Then there’s different variations you can do of the same exercise. So just because one person does it one way doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it.
Now there’s definitely safer ways to do it, there’s more effective ways to do different exercises. And what I like to teach people are the basic ways to do the exercises first. And stick with the basics at first. Then once you get a certain level of fitness you can tweak them, do different variations, and your body will be ready for those variations. If you don’t have the base core strength, the base leg strength, the base back and upper body strength there’s certain exercises you should not be doing – certain variations of certain exercises that you should not be doing.
So, I’m going to show you just the basic Bulgarian or single leg squat. Now the way that I start is that I have a bench behind me and I step out in front of the bench about 2 to 3 feet. So a good way to start would be to actually have something to hold onto when you’re first starting to do this exercise. I have the stand right here by me. Now simply just place your leg behind you on the bench. You know the bench is there, just lift up your leg and go behind you –you’re holding on so you shouldn’t lose your balance. Then just lower down. You want to lower down to where your knee does not extend over your toes. So you want to have your lower leg pretty much perpendicular to the floor, over your ankle if possible. So you lower down kinda going back, pushing our butt back. Then as you push up, push up through your heel.
So, we can hold on during this just to keep our balance. Because it is, it very much works your balance – your balance of your ankles, hips. You don’t really want any weight pushing through that back leg, you want all of the weight on the front leg. So think about this (front leg) as the leg doing all of the motion. That’s just back there to help you, for your balance and help you isolate this front leg.
Now, if for instance you want to do a variation of this exercise you can take a bigger stance. And typically I do mine with a bigger stance – I like to really stretch my glute. The closer in you come the more you work your quad. As you stretch out – say for instance if I add a foot out in front of me this way you can see that I stretch more in this area. It will activate my hamstring and glute more. And you can come straight up and down – that’s one variation. Or you can come forward. Like, if I have dumbbells I’ll come forward like I’m a sprinter getting ready to start my race. This will activate your glutes even more. Alright, so that’s a Bulgarian with a couple of different variations.
Now, you want to start with opposite legs each time you do a set so that you don’t overwork one leg and neglect the other. So you want make sure you do the same exercise with the other leg. So we’ll go ahead and do some reps with our left leg. When you’re first starting, like I said, you might want to hold onto something for balance, or have it there just in case. Once you get that you can move to having your hands on your hips or on your leg. This is good, it helps you with your balance. Then we’ll do a couple with the bigger stance here, leaning forward, like I have my dumbbells. You can pretend like you have dumbbells before you even use dumbbells. This is how I would hold them on this variation. That’s basic training on how to do Bulgarians.
I’m going to go ahead and take a little breather. Then I’m going to do a set with dumbbells, so I’ll be back doing that for you.