EOM: Bulgarian Split Squat

If you’ve been around for a hot minute or 10, you’ll remember that I went to the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual summit in Las Vegas when I was a wee baby trainer! At that summit, there was a personal trainer who was reppin’ TRX and led the early morning workouts for the conference attendees. It was the birth of the “The powwa is in ya booty!!!”

Marc Coronel was (and likely still is) a big proponent of spending dedicated time each week on lower body strength development, specifically as it relates to the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and the surrounding muscles. But why?

To get the gist of this, let’s talk about muscles and their movements. The most obvious and easiest for most people to understand is the biceps of both of your upper arms. When you (actively) bend your elbow, the movement is called “flexion;” the bump in your upper arm is the biceps muscles flexing. When you straighten your arm out, the movement is called “extension” and the biceps are no longer in a state of flexion. The muscles relax and your arm is now straight.

This same flexion and extension happens in every single muscle in your body. Taking the same arm from the example above, if you keep it straight while pressing down on something or pushing something, you are (actively) straightening your elbow which causes the triceps to flex. The triceps muscles shorten and pull your arm straight.

Now let’s talk about ya booty.

lgbtq+ personal trainer

When you sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, your knees are bent so your biceps femoris (hamstrings) is flexing while your glutes are stretched out. Standing up causes the opposites to happen: the quadriceps (top of your legs) flex/shorten to straight your leg out and the glutes flex to straighten out your hips. Needless to say, it’s important to maintain that bump in your butt for improved overall strength, better standing ability, and for others, better aesthetics.

One of my go-to exercises is the Bulgarian Split Squat. As the name implies, it’s a squat that’s split; you’re using a single leg to do 90-95% of the work. I like this exercise for many reasons, but mostly because it’s a very effective lower body exercise. Not only that, but it forces you to make better use of your core, it helps with balance and coordination, and if you’re doing the movement right, you get instant feedback in the glute that’s working – as in, you FEEL the power in ya booty!

Your form and technique for this exercise, like all exercises you do, must be OUTSTANDING. If you’re unfamiliar with the exercise, initially it will be best to get the hang of it with only your body weight. As your strength and coordination improve, you can start carrying a pair of light dumbbells and move up from there.

The quality of your move is far and away much more important than how many reps you can do, how much weight you can carry while doing it, or how fast you can do them! I’ll repeat that again, the QUALITY of the movement is more important than the quantity of anything related to it, ESPECIALLY at the beginning when you’re learning.

We’ve all got power in our booties! The glutes are some of the strongest muscles in our body; it’s best to not underestimate their importance and to pay them the attention they deserve.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns or want just a little more information, feel free to send a message or comment below.

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