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

Check out STACK's illustrated guide to performing the Dumbbell Split Squat to learn how you can benefit from this powerful Squat variation.

The Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat (commonly referred to as Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat) is a 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 Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat and adapt it to meet your particular training needs. Finally, check out some of STACK's Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat workout videos, featuring elite athletes like Von Miller, to learn how to adapt the exercise for your sport.

Dumbbell Split Squat How-To

  • Stand in lunge or stride position with back foot on bench or box
  • Hold dumbbells in both hands with arms extended at sides of body
  • Bend front knee to lower into lunge position 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

Dumbbell Split-Squat

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 or wearing a weight vest.

Advanced Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat
Advanced athletes can increase the challenge by placing their front foot on an Airex Balance Pad, placing their rear foot on an unstable surface, like a physioball or a TRX strap, or performing with a barbell, for an emphasis on strength and trunk stability. Focus on explosively driving up out of the lunge to increase power, or hold the lunge for three to five seconds to increase strength.

Common Dumbbell 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 starting stance so your rear knee is one to two inches above ground in the lunge position.
  3. Torso Tilts Forward: Reduce the weight of the dumbbells 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.

Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat Technique Variations
Before performing the Dumbbell 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.

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