In fitness, lunges are considered one of the most versatile and beneficial exercises for the lower body. In some situations, even more, effective than barbell squats. Nevertheless, there is a way to make them even more effective, which is called “Bulgarian lunges.” This is a complex and incredibly powerful variation of classic lunges, which can be performed both with free weights and bodyweight. In this article, we will consider everything related to the features, advantages, and techniques of this exercise.
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Advantages of Bulgarian lunge
Lunges – this is really one of the most popular exercises, which has several different variations. Some of them simply change the degree of load, switching it to other areas (for example, lunges forward or backward). Nevertheless, some techniques radically change the entire exercise, and the Bulgarian squat (also called lunges) is one of the most striking examples. The main advantages include the following features:
- Increased load (even performing an exercise without weight, it will be possible to get a much greater effect than from ordinary lunges);
- Additional muscle tension, which greatly increases the effectiveness of the training (especially after heavy squats, deadlift, etc.);
- The best exercise for mastering the most difficult squats on one leg;
- Allows to overcome stagnation in bodybuilding;
- Full versatility – can be easily done anywhere, both in the hall and at home or on the sports ground;
- They allow you to adjust your posture (mainly due to additional stretching, which especially affects the lumbar).
Simply put, this is an exercise that is a much more complicated variation of ordinary lunges, since making Bulgarian lunges is much more difficult even without burdens. In complexity, this is an average and intermediate stage between classic lunges and squats on one leg, which requires an incredibly high level of physical fitness.
Even if you don’t want to master the “pistol” and just prefer to do a good and effective exercise for the buttocks, thighs and all muscles of the legs, Bulgarian squats will be incredibly useful. If we talk about which muscles work during the exercise, then it is worth highlighting:
- Gluteal muscles
- Hip biceps;
- Muscle Stabilizers.
The exercise involves almost all muscle groups, except chest and shoulders (if lunges are done without weight). Indirectly, the back, the muscles of the core, and even the arms are involved in the work, but only when working with additional weights.
Technique of execution and features of the split squat
It is very important to remember the main rule, without which it is better not to even try to do Bulgarian squats. We are talking about the correct technique, which critically affects this exercise. With the slightest technical flaws, it is possible not only to turn the Bulgarian lunges into an ineffective movement but also to make it rather traumatic and harmful to the joints and spine.
Therefore, it is recommended that any athlete, regardless of the level of training, first do this exercise without weight. Only after a complete mastery of the technique can we begin to make a movement with dumbbells or even a barbell stacksteroids. If the exercise is performed for a long time in Smith’s machine, an additional load on the joints may be created, and the back will automatically round up, which is a mistake. Therefore, dumbbells that can be held on straight arms, as well as a barbell, if you prefer to fix the weight at the top point (this allows some athletes to better keep their back in the correct position) will be an ideal option. The execution technique will look like this:
- Place one foot back on a bench or pedestal. Keep the weight in your hands (or on your shoulders if using a barbell), when working without burdening your hands, it is better to put on your waist. This is the starting position;
- Squat down, bending your front leg at the knee. It is necessary to lower to a level when there will be a right angle between the calf and the thigh;
- At the bottom, pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
It is important to consider that during the whole approach the back should remain even. Any change in the natural curves in the spine (in the lower back, upper part, and neck) will lead to a distortion of the technique and an increase in injury risk.
The hind leg should always be supported to maintain balance. The higher the bench on which it lies, the more difficult it will be to squat, so vary the height taking into account the level of physical fitness.
If you want to increase the efficiency of lunges, make them more complex and effective, then it is worth replacing them with Bulgarian squats (lunges). This option is ideal not only for men, providing excellent stretching, but also for girls who want to increase the ass and make it more elastic. You should also avoid the standard error, which can often be seen in the photo with the technique of performing Bulgarian lunges. This applies to stride width. It is optimal to move away from the bench exactly one of your average steps. If you get farther or closer to the bench, the exercise will be less effective and more harmful to the joints.