If you only do exercises that work both arms or legs at the same time (think: chest press, dip, squat) you’re shortchanging your results. That’s because everyone has a dominant side, and such “bilateral” moves can reinforce strength imbalances by allowing your dominant limbs to take on a greater share of the work. The solution: Incorporate more unilateral (single-limb) exercises, like the Bulgarian split squat, into your workouts. By working each leg independently, you’ll engage more stabilizing muscles throughout your body (especially in your core), improve coordination, and begin to iron out muscle and strength imbalances. Follow along with Maricris in the video below as she demonstrates perfect form.
Exercise Instructions for the Bulgarian Split Squat
Target muscles: Quads and glutes.
Featured in: Beast Up: Legs, one of two new Body Beast workouts on Beachbody on Demand.
Stand facing away from a bench, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides. Place the toes of your left foot on the bench behind you. Keeping your torso upright, lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground (don’t let your left knee touch it). Pause, and then push back up to the starting position. Do equal reps on both legs.
Make it easier: Use lighter weights, or perform a classic split squat (both feet on the floor).
Make it harder: Use heavier weights, increase the pause at the bottom of each rep, or add a jump at the end of each rep, landing softly and transitioning immediately into your next rep.
Bonus tip: Don’t stand more than a few feet in front of the bench. If you have to arch your back to keep your chest up, you’re standing too far forward. Having your feet too far apart also limits how low you can go into the squat, diminishing the effectiveness of the move.