Bulgarian Split Squat – How to do (and NOT to do) the RFESS

Man am I pumped about heading out tomorrow to Irmo, South Carolina to teach (and hang out) at the 2012 Sorinex Summer Strong!

This is where some of the best coaches and some of the strongest athletes come together with a boat load of iron enthusiast to talk shop, train and party!

Here’s a video from last years summer strong, which kick off with Big Rich performing a one-arm clean & press with a 2 inch handle dumbbell that weights more than I do!

Before I head out for the weekend, I wanted to hit you with another training video covering how we use and tweak the Bulgarian Split Squat to better fit the height of the individual we’re working with. And, how we modify the torso position of the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS) to to hit the glutes a bit more and make it more knee friendly.

But, before I tell how we use the Bulgarian SPlit Squat, here’s a few ways we DON’T recommend using it:

We don’t use a short split stance like this…

We feel this short stance (shown above) creates un-needed stress on the knee joint.

We also DON’T allow our clients to lift up their front heel like this:

Lifting the heel goes along with a short spilt stance and is another common form mistake we see during the Bulgarian Split Squat. We feel that lifting your front heel up as you descend into the exercise, again, puts unwanted stress on the knee.

We also don’t place the back foot on a stability ball, like this:

 We don’t mind the body position displayed above. And, we love using the stability ball for plenty of exercises. But, when it comes to using the Bulgarian Split squat exercise – we feel that single leg dominant split stance already gives us enough instability. Plus, when we use the RFESS exercise, we’re going for strength and muscle, both of which haven’t been shown to be achieved as well with the addition of instability.

We have no issue with adding some instability (unstable surface training) to our programs, but we don’t combine it with high loads; and we go heavy on Split squats.

How to do the Bulgarian Split Squat – RFESS Performance U Style!

Now that you know how we DON’T use the Bulgarian Split Squat exercise, we can talk about how we DO use it!

Check out this video clip taken (by Rick Kaselj) during my 2-day, 14hr workshop in beautiful Vancouver BC:

Here’s Jackie (figure competitor) performing our favorite, “go-to” version of Bulgarian Split Squats as part of her lower-body workout:

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