Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat 101: A How-To Guide

January 21, 2012

The Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat (commonly referred to as Bulgarian Split-Squat) is an advanced Squat variation you can use to build strength and power in your legs and hips, particularly the quads. One of its advantages over a traditional Squat is that it works the legs individually to build balanced lower-body strength, while also increasing lower body and core stability. Through this guide, you’ll learn how to perform the Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat and adapt it to meet your particular training needs.

Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat How-To

  • Stand in lunge or stride position with back foot on bench or box and bar on back
  • Bend front knee to lower into lunge until thigh is parallel to ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Extend hip and knee to drive up to start position; repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set with opposite leg

Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squat Exercise

Getting Started
Beginners should focus on perfecting form and technique before adding resistance. Perform the exercise with bodyweight and also do Single-Leg Squats. Add weight incrementally by holding a med ball, wearing a weight vest and performing with dumbbells.

Advanced Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squats
Advanced athletes can increase the challenge by placing their front foot on an airex pad. You can also explosively drive up out of the lunge to increase power, or hold the lunge for three to five seconds to increase strength.

Common Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat Mistakes and Solutions

  1. Front Knee Travels Beyond Toes: Increase foot separation in the starting stance so your front knee is directly over your ankle and your thigh is parallel to the ground in the lunge position.
  2. Rear Knee Touches Ground: Increase foot separation in the starting stance so your rear knee is one to two inches above ground in the lunge position.
  3. Torso Tilts Forward: Reduce the weight on the bar for subsequent sets. This could be the result of tight hip flexors and quads. Perform a proper dynamic warm-up and consistently stretch these muscles post-workout.
  4. Bar Tilts During Lunge: Reduce the weight on the bar for subsequent sets. Focus your eyes on a single point on the wall to help maintain balance. Also, performing exercises that target the core will help you control the bar.

Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat Technique Variations
Before performing the Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat, it’s important to master the traditional Squat. Learn how to Squat and find a full list of Squat variations in Squat 101: A How-To Guide.

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
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