Straight Off the Eastern Bloc.


Boom. This just in, from Russia with love. A great way to work out your legs, while simultaneously working on your Soviet culture. Introducing: The Bulgarian Split Squat. This is an exercise that can, and will fight you.  If you’ve ever had any illusions of lower body grandeur, the BSS will soon fix your mind and your body. But mostly your mind, because that’s where you’re broken.

Just from experience, I can tell you that it is my personal belief that this exercise has taken the form of a dragon and has not only stolen things out of my desk drawer while I wasn’t home, but also chopped down a tree in my backyard, burned the ground in the shape of hammer and sickle, and then started a cult.

Here’s how to do it, and a few variations of it.
Stand about 3 feet in front of a bench, a chair, a table, a couch, or something sturdy that is about knee level or a little higher. Start on one food, and find your balance. With the other foot, go ahead and push it back, and let it rest on the top of the item behind you. I prefer doing it with the top of my foot on the top of the object, but you can do it on your toes if you have great dorsiflexion mobility. (you can pull your foot towards your knee pretty well) Test it out, it varies based on your biomechanics.

From there, go ahead and squat down with the front leg, making sure to drive the back knee back and down, and let it bend. Don’t let the front knee go over the front toe. This is bad.

Notice how in the picture, he forms a right angle with his front knee and hip.  That’s good form.  Do it like that.

It’s not complicated, give it a few tries on each leg. One leg will be weaker than the other. Start with that leg every time. Also, if you’ve never done this before, it would be prudent to start of with just your body weight. Any more, and you’re in danger of feeling like someone took a mallet to your glutes while you were sleeping. But hey, if you’re in a dangerous mood, go for it.

A couple notes on what this exercise is:
A great way to work your inner and outer thigh (ladies?)
A great way to work your balance
A great way to work your abs and obliques
A great way to work you glutes (read: A great way to feel like you started a chemical fire on your backside)
A great way to improve posture/burn calories/look rad at the gym/etc.

A couple notes on what this exercise is not:
A great way to have a light workout
Bench press
Elliptical machine
North American
A great way to pick up chicks (kinda hard to impress anyone with your lungs on the outside of your body)
Fun / mentally easy / hella tight

“But Nate!” you say. “I can squat my bodyweight, I’m no stranger to the gym, and I just consumed a Tyler Ells sized portion of NoExplode and F16 fuel, and my heart is going to explode if I only do bodyweight exercises!”

Great work Skippy, glad to hear it. Try one of these variations.

1) Weighted. Get a weight vest, grab some dumbbells, a kettlebell, your little sister, whatever you have available. Hold it in one hand, both hands, on your back, in front of you, etc. The possibilities are endless.
2) Increase range of motion. Stand on a box or a pile of weights. Feel that stretch in your hams, glutes and groin. Yep. That’s fun.
3) Oh, you’re the balance master? Probably not. Grab a set of TRX straps and put your back foot in that. Or put your back foot on a Swiss ball. Or close your eyes. n00b.
4) Got all this down? Too easy? Whatever Sven. Time to add some more Slavic influence. Introduce some German Volume Training, and see how you feel tomorrow. I’ll bring you a wheelchair. 10 sets of 10 reps.  I didn’t say it was smart, just German.
5) Is your cardio game locked down? Can you run for hours on end like a mystical gazelle? Pfft. Do a set, rest for a minute, do another set. Oh, did I say rest? I meant hold a push up position plank.

Suck it up and get it done. Talk to you later.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here