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Blog: Bulgarian Split Squats

Published: July 21, 2020

Today’s post I will be delving into one of my favourite lower limb exercises, the Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS). I will be highlighting its benefits from both a rehabilitative perspective, as well as a strength and conditioning perspective, utilising a comparison with the traditional double leg barbell squat.

One of the major barriers with respect to loading someone with an appropriate level of weight on a double leg barbell squat is the compressive force it provides to the lumbar spine. Someone with a history of lower back complaints may find this exercise painful, and scary. The BSS has been found to significantly reduce the compressive force through the lumbar spine due to a reduction in the weight required to elicit a similar response.

Various studies have considered the activation patterns of these two exercises. Research is suggestive that they elicit very similar activation patterns with respect to our glute, thigh, hamstring and core muscles. Key differences between the exercises is the BSS produces significantly more demand on our stabilising hip muscles. This is incredibly important, as weaknesses in the stabilising hip muscles is often a component to a variety of lower limb based injuries.

Typical activities of daily living, and traditional sporting manoeuvres are largely conducted in a split stance, or single leg stance position. Meaning, the BSS can be deemed as a more functional option out of the two squat techniques as it will provide greater benefits for movements such as walking, running, jumping and lifting.

Overall, both techniques are incredibly vital in both a rehabilitative, and strength and conditioning domain, and should be implemented into a usual regime with a skilled health professional. As such, I encourage you to reach out to your health professionals/coaches/personal trainers about these techniques to ensure best utilisation.


If you have any further questions or queries please feel free to contact us on 9509 0995 to ask any questions about the topic discussed.


Yianni Griffiths – Clinical Services Coordinator – Back in Motion Mitcham