The Bulgarian Split Squat : 3 Mistakes To Never Make

bulgarian split squat

The Bulgarian split squat is one of the staple movements I put into damn near every single one of my online coaching clients or Clubhouse members programs .

Why? Because in my professional opinion it is one of the best, if not the best, lower body exercise you can do.

Also, anything with bulgarian attached to it screams strength.

Want better glutes? Do the bulgarian split squat.

Want a stronger deadlift or squat? Do the bulgarian split squat.

Want to be able to have super powers? Hell, I am sure the Bulgarian split squat can give you some.

No doubt this movement will have you seeing all types of progress in your lower body strength and definition.

Let’s dive into it more below.

The Bulgarian Split Squat : 3 Mistakes You Never Want To Make

Bulgarian Split Squat Mistake #1 – Have Torso Upright

bulgarian split squat form correct

From high school gyms across the country to even personal trainers in gyms today you may have heard “Keep your chest up!” When doing really any movement.

Which I believe is one of the most over used and under effective coaching cues that has ever been created. That is a different conversation for a different day though, bulgarian split squats today.

Well this is one movement you should NOT be having your chest up for.


Well for starters it can bring on some serious knee pain. The more upright your torso is, the more pressure you are going to put on your knees.

If you are trying to keep your chest upright and experiencing some knee pain, you can pretty much be assured some knee pain is going to come along with that.

Also, if you are looking to work your glutes, keeping your chest up is the worst thing you can do.

Not only will you keeping your chest up usually bring upon some knee pain, it will also recruit more quadriceps than glutes.

The more upright your torso is the more forward knee travel you will have to have.

The more forward knee travel the more pressure you put on your knee and more quad you work.

So, what’s the fix?

Keep a slight lean forward in your torso and think about going down and back as opposed to straight down and forward.

This will make sure you maintain a vertical shin angle which will take pressure off of your knee and recruit more glute muscles.

Bulgarian Split Squat Mistake #2 – Heels Coming Off Ground

Bulgarian split squat form

The second most common mistake for the bulgarian split squat is having your heels coming off the ground as you descend down into the movement.

This can be due to a few things.

Number one is you are making the mistake above of trying to keep your torso upright. If you do not have the adequate ankle mobility, you will be forced to have your heels come off the ground to complete the movement.

This is once again a big no no for your knees.

Number two is your foot is too close to the bench.

So, What’s The Fix?

The first thing you need to make sure of is your foot stays flat on the ground the entire time.

Try to push through your mid foot / heel as opposed to your toes.

The second thing is to make sure your foot is out far enough in front of you.

What I normally recommend doing if you are struggling with this is starting from the bottom and work your way back up.

So get to the bottom where your back knee is on the ground, find a comfortable spot where your front foot is flat on the ground, and begin your movement from there.

Bulgarian Split Squat Mistake #3 – Knee Caving In

The third mistake is your knee is coming in as you descend down into the movement.

This is a big risk to knee pain as well as hip pain.

So, What’s The Fix?

You want to make sure your knee is out and in line over your 2nd or 3rd toe.

If you have to get a wider stance with your feet to make this happen you absolutely can.

This means when you are setting up if your right leg is forward and left leg is back, move your right leg out to the right side a bit more.

This usually allows for a wider base which leads to your knee staying out a bit more.

Another tip you can do is have someone, or yourself, put your hand on the inside of your knee.

I use to do this all the time with the clients I trained in person.

If you simply just put your hand on the inside of your knee you automatically will be aware of where your knee is traveling. This will allow you to keep your knee out on the way down.

Now that you are aware of the 3 most common mistakes and how to fix them, let’s cover 3 of my favorite bulgarian split squat variations (as if it wasn’t hard enough as it is!).

3 Killer Bulgarian Split Squat Variations

1.5 Bulgarian Split Squat

Description: Do a standard bulgarian split squat but add a half rep in between every full rep. Go down, 1/2 way up, back down, all the way up. That is ONE rep.

2. Deficit BGSS

Description: Do a standard bulgarian split squat here but elevate your front foot to a 2-4’ surface. This is going to allow more a bigger range of motion and challenge your muscles that much more.

3. Front Rack BGSS

Description: Perform a standard BGSS with either dumbbells or kettlebells held in a front rack position. This will challenge your core strength as well as lower body strength.. Fun, right?!

Bulgarian Split Squat Wrap Up

You ready to tackle the bulgarian split squat now?

Full disclosure : this exercise is not for the weak hearted. It is tough no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned vet.

If you want some free workouts with the Bulgarian split squat programmed in, scroll to the bottom of this page to get your hands on 52 free workouts.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out or drop them below.

Talk soon,


7 Replies to “The Bulgarian Split Squat : 3 Mistakes To Never Make”

  1. Great advice. Bulgarian Squats explained, enhanced and Advanced. Love it. Thank you Eric, you are amazing …
    Just when I thought I was doing a good job, you add all this new difficult stuff. Love it. Xo, nora

  2. i hate this workout with a passion 🤣 but i do it twice a week! the benefits outweigh the pain!

  3. Great tips! Thank you!
    I had a coach that tries to “correct” my form to have my toes on the bench vs front of the foot flat on the bench.

Comments are closed.