One Leg Exercise for Strength and Mass Pt. 2

In part two of this blog series on the split squat,we are going to cover how to challenge the movement further.  If you did not read Part 1 you will want to get on that because it will have in detail, the movement and patterns to keep yourself challenged and progressing.  You can read Part 1 here.

Read that now, I’ll wait….

So now that you have that read, our next step is to bring the back leg up off the floor, this commonly known as the Bulgarian Split Squat.  This will put more focus into the front leg by bearing the body’s full weight and any external load that is added.  It will also allow more depth in the squat, to challenge you more.  Balance will be challenged more, so slow controlled movements are best.

Keeping the same technique as in the last blog, you want your torso to remain upright with the core tight.  This will prevent any unwanted lumbar extension.  Shoulders are held back to prevent any rounding of the shoulders.  Squat down and sit into the front heel, feeling tension in the whole upper leg.  Push up through the heel into a standing position and repeat.  You also want to make sure the front knee does not buckle inward.  So keep slight tension pushing out on the knee, to keep it in line with the second toe of the foot.  If you are unable to keep the knee from buckling in then a regression may be in order.

Once you are able to complete your targeted rep range under control, then add some resistance.  To keep things tied together in this series, we will just continue the progressions as in Part 1.

  • Dumbbell in each hand or in one hand and held slightly out to side
  • Barbell on the upper traps
  • Dumbbells in each hand resting on top of front shoulders
  • Weight held out in front
  • Weight overhead
*Bonus:  Putting the back leg on a stability ball instead of a sturdy bench or putting the front foot on a small step (like an aerobic step) with the back foot resting on a bench,  to create a deeper range of motion.

One other variation is to do the movement backwards.  By that I mean, start with the foot on the bench, but allow the back knee to rest on the floor.  Front leg is in a 90/90 position.  Start the movement by pushing up off the floor through the front heel.  Drop back down to the floor, to a dead rest and repeat.  This only focus on the upward motion of the exercise but can be very beneficial when needed.

You should definitely feel these the next day or two, especially if single-leg training is new to you.  Give yourself plenty of rest before using them again.

Stay tuned for part 3 for another round of progressions.

About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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