Getting the most out of your workouts is all about positioning. When you hit the same exercises the same way, week after week, you’re missing out on opportunities to make gains by switching things up.
This Bulgarian split squat variation from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. takes the standard exercise and puts you on top of a platform in a deficit position, then challenges you with a smart protocol to push you to even further.
“We’re taking a basic deficit Bulgarian split squat and adding time-under tension and body control in two key points, then forcing you to fire up from a very low position, lower than a normal Bulgarian split squat,” Samuel says. “To drive up from that spot from essentially a dead stop, your front-side glutes and quads will have to contract powerfully.”
The key is being able to stay in control. “First you need to own the front-thigh-parallel position. This is where you’d be at the bottom of a standard Bulgarian anyway, so it shouldn’t feel unfamiliar,” he says. “You also begin to stretch your front-leg glute more aggressively. Stay in this position and relish the flexibility and work to own it. Key in this bottom position; don’t rock backwards. Keep a vertical shin with your front leg so most of the tension stays on that front leg. Then fire up.”
If you want to take on the Bulgarian split squat glute annihilator, you’ll need a set of kettlebells, a weight bench, and a set of plates or a small platform to serve as a base. Check out this set of kettlebells if you want to try it at home.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Set up in a Bulgarian split squat position with your front foot elevated on top of the platform. Hold the kettlebells in a front rack. Check here for some tips on getting into place for the Bulgarian split squat.
- Bend your knee to squat down, lowering until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and keeping the shin of your planted foot in a vertical position. Pause here for a count.
- Lower down even further, into the deficit space provided by the platform. Pause for a count at the bottom to feel a stretch.
- Fire your quad, hamstring, and glute to drive back up to standing position.
Make sure that you keep the tempo at a controllable pace throughout the exercise. “Take your time on these and don’t rush anything,” says Samuel. “Also make a point to stand up fully on every rep. It’s easy to skip over that in your urge to descend into the next rep, but you don’t want to miss that awesome glute squeeze you’ll get from full hip extension. This is a very full-range glute contraction you’re getting here.”
To add the Bulgarian split squat glute annihilator to your workout, try 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side to finish off a leg day.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program on our All/Out Studio app.
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