We’re not gonna BS you when it comes to this BSS variation: It’s gonna challenge you.
People often think of Bulgarian split squats as a quad-crushing, glute and hamstrings-building challenge on leg day, instead of the complete core and lower-body compound exercise it can be used for.
The ideal example would be this kettlebell version, in which you alternate single- and double-arm reps for each rep, Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., demonstrates in the latest Eb and Swole exercise how you can easily (or not so easily) elevate the core difficulty level of the Bulgarian split squat.
How to Do the Basic Bulgarian Split Squat
Start your Bulgarian split squat by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand (or just using your bodyweight) with your arms fully extended at your sides, then place your back foot against either a bench or another elevated surface.
Lean your torso slightly forward and lower down, bringing your back knee closer to the floor. Pause momentarily, then drive through your heel back up and to the starting position.
How to Do the Mixed-Load Bulgarian Split Squat
In this version, you’ll start out the same way, holding a kettlebell in each hand. However this time, as you lower into a squat, you’re going to leave one kettlebell on the floor before driving up to complete the rep. Lower again, this time picking up both kettlebells before driving up. Once you lower for the third rep, leave the opposite kettlebell on the ground and drive up. Keep continuing the same sequence for 12 to 15 reps each set.
The purpose of this drill? With each rep, Samuel says you’re working with different offset loads, putting your core to work from different angles. Plus, in between those separate offset iterations, you have to deal with a heavier load when lifting both bells.
Keep your shoulders and hips square and try to avoid tipping from side to side when working with a single kettlebell. Your core will definitely feel the work involved, which makes this variation an awesome finishing move.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts.
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