The Bulgarian split squat is by far my favourite lower-body exercise. In the video below I'm doing higher reps while wearing a 100-pound weight vest. This is a nice variation to throw in because sometimes I just like to focus on the mind-muscle connection and not worry about holding weights.
I'm sure I'm beating a dead horse at this point, since I constantly promote this drill, but I still get a lot of people who ask me for my go-to legs exercise and this is it. The amount of muscular development I've achieved from this drill is really astounding. And the gainz keep coming.
Here are 10 reasons the Bulgarian split squat should be a staple in your training program:
1. It unloads the spine
2. It improves hip and quad mobility
3. It's easy to recover from
4. You can perform it daily
5. It works your inner and outer hip and thigh due to the split stance
6. It can be performed anytime, anywhere by just about anybody
7. It generates insane muscle pumps
8. It fixes strength and mobility imbalances between sides
9. It improves lower-body aesthetics
10. It transfers very well to athletics
Look, if you enjoy barbell squatting and it works for your body, keep rocking it. If anything, this move is a great accessory exercise to improve your squatting.
Frankly, bilateral loaded squatting doesn't come very naturally to me and it's never really felt right. A lot of this is due to the fact that I've had very poor ankle mobility and a history of knee injuries from my football days. And I've back squatted around 450 pounds before, which is light weight to an Instagram star or powerlifter but still a decent load. That being said, my legs are way more developed now than they were when I was doing heavy barbell squatting.
Make your fitness program work for you. Don't just do an exercise because it's what always has been done or because people you admire do it. And that same logic applies to Bulgarian split squats - if you give this move a chance and it doesn't groove with your body, don't do it. But I think you'll find it to be just what the doctor ordered.
This article was originally published on MensHealth.com