Split Squat is the lower body's biggest family of dumbbell exercises and a
direct descendant of the Barbell Squat. Over the years, this muscle-building
clan of exercises has made a name for themselves in home gyms around the world
as a safer bet and replacement for the Godfather of all leg exercises, the Back
Squat. Lately, the dumbbell split squat has morphed into many different
versions and is responsible for size increase, strength, and popularity amongst
lone-wolves and gym rats.
this article, we’re going to uncover everything you need to know about the
Split Squat dumbbell version. I’m going to show you the best way to execute the
exercise, and then I’m going to introduce you to six variations with cues,
tips, and pictures to get you warmed up and ready to squat. (Wikipedia Link)
Psymon H., architect of the Mission Jacked movement.
name is Psymon H., architect of the Mission Jacked movement, and the man making his name from improving
physiques and growing natural muscle with minimal equipment.
my nearly 40 years of going to war with the iron, 15 years of which have been
spent training in a minimal equipment environment, I’ve tried almost every
exercise you can think of. When it comes to lower body training at home,
building an alliance with the Split Squats and all its variants has been one of
the main reasons why at the age of 52 (and natural), I’m still able to don a
pair of shorts in the summer and look like I train legs.
they are a unilateral movement, they’re great for size, strength, and limiting
imbalances between the right and left legs while helping to build general
Squat Muscles Worked:
squats are fantastic at building muscle in the quads and surrounding areas such
as the hamstrings, core, and the gluteus Maximus, medius, and minimus.
Split Squats the same as a lunge?
are some major differences between the two exercises. The Dumbbell Split Squat
is a static movement whereas the lunge is viewed as a dynamic exercise because
it’s performed by either stepping or walking forward or stepping back.
Squat vs Bulgarian Split Squat:
they are both members of the dumbbell squat family and are single-leg
movements, there are major differences between the two exercises. Think of the Split version similar to a front wheel drive car because with a Split
squat, your stabilizing leg is in front of you when you perform the movement. Think of the Bulgarian version as a rear-wheel drive car in that when executing Bulgarian split squats, your stabilizing leg is behind you.
Tense your core and maintain a straight back as you lower yourself down until
your back knee hovers or lightly touches the floor. A common mistake to avoid
is the front knee folding inwards as you lower down. This puts excess strain on
the knees and reduces glute activation
Use your front glute and quad muscle to drive yourself back to the start
position. Don't lean too far forward or back during the exercise as this can
create extra stress on the knee.
can upgrade this movement by adding a resistance band to the exercise. By doing
this you will put more tension at the top of the movement where it is
If you need more fire on your next quad workout,
add this variation to your routine to test every muscle fiber in the lower
Items Needed: Box, step or platform, and a pair of
Cue 1: With dumbbells in hand, position yourself
in a lunge stance, with the front foot on the platform and you on the toes of
your back foot. Ensure you maintain an upright posture with your core tight and
a square-on torso throughout the movement.
Cue 2: Turn your toes in slightly on the platform
so the outer side of your heel sticks out.
Cue 3: Lunge forward until your front knee is at a
right angle or just over your ankle. Make sure to stay on the toes of your back
foot throughout the movement and maintain a firm base on the platform with your
Cue 4: Drive through your front heel, keeping your
foot firming in contact with the platform as you raise into the standing
position. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.
contralateral loaded Incline split squat is a variation of the dumbbell split
squat and an exercise used to target the muscles of the leg. Contralateral
strength training is the effect that training one side of the body will
increase strength on the opposite side as well.
major difference between this and the normal incline version is that you will
only need one dumbbell. If you are working your left leg (left leg forward),
you have the dumbbell in your right hand in front of or just to the side of
your right thigh. You can also do Contralateral Loading in the flat Split position.
we discovered earlier, the major difference between Bulgarian Split Squats and
Split Squats is where the stabilization comes from. The fact that the balance
comes from behind on this exercise means that the difficulty is ramped up
considerably as this movement will test your balance and core strength that
Quads, Glutes & Hamstrings.
Pair of dumbbells and a flat bench.
To Do Bulgarian Split Squat
With dumbbells at your side, rest the topside of one foot on a bench or a bar
off a rack behind you and step forward until your front leg is a good stride in
front of the resting leg.
Chances are you've done your fair shot of
traditional Bulgarian Dumbbell Squats; so if you have and you’re searching for
an upgrade, we're going to put the front heel on an incline to redirect the
stress on your teardrop area. Take this exercise nice and slow until you find
your stride and once that happens, improvements will soon follow.
Items Needed: Flat bench or a rack with a bar, one pair
of dumbbells, and a bumper or Olympic plate.
Setup: You want to place your incline station
(bumper plate or platform) exactly where you would have your front foot on a
traditional Bulgarian Squat.
Incline Bulgarian Split Squat Form:
Cue 1: Place the heel of your front leg on the
platform. With a dumbbell in each hand, carefully place the topside of your
other foot on the bench.
Cue 2: Lean slightly forward, lock in your core,
and press the toes of your front foot into the floor. Slowly lower your front
leg until it is at a right angle and your back knee is just over the ground.
Cue 3: Briefly pause in the bottom position before
smoothly making your way back to the top of the movement. Make sure to repeat
the movement on the other leg.
It’s great to change things up on leg days
especially if you are training at home and want to stay motivated and focused
on the job of building quads. This variation puts you in the line of fire from
top to bottom of the exercise. Not only do you have dumbbell gravity to contend
with, but you also have the tension of a medium to heavy resistance band to
compete against as you rise to the top of the movement.
Target Muscle Groups: Quads, Hamstrings and
Items Needed: One dumbbell, a medium to a heavy resistance
band, and a bench or rack with a bar.
Cue 1: Set up the band so it's securely under the foot
of your working leg and across the opposite shoulder. Hold the dumbbell
on the working side.
Cue 2: Rest your non-working leg behind you, placing
the top part of your foot on the bench and not your toes.