When I hurt my back doing front squats, I needed some exercises to hit my legs hard without putting pressure on my lower back. Split squats were the answer!
Rear foot elevated split squats (Bulgarian split squats) are a variation that will really get your legs burning. Split squats can build your quads and glutes and are great for those who don’t tolerate back squats or front squats due to back issues. Even those with knee pains can tolerate these well in my experience.
They may take some getting used to due to balance issues if you’re not used to single leg stuff. I even have troubles sometimes as I am relatively new to single leg exercises, but I improved quickly and you will too.
Here is how to do them:
- Hold a pair of dumbbells (or do without if just starting) at your sides with palms facing in (neutral).
- Get a bench (or one of these stands) and set it about 3 feet behind you (may have to adjust to feel comfortable).
- With feet about shoulder length apart, set one of your feet back on the bench or stand.
- Keep your chest up and start lowering your hips until your back knee gets close to touching the ground.
- Drive back up being sure to use that front leg as opposed to pushing off the back leg (I start doing this when I am tired… it’s not the correct way lol)
- Switch legs and repeat
- Stumble around afterwards
If you haven’t added these into your routine you’ll be surprised how much they really work your legs and get your butt sore.