Bulgarian Split Squat Variation Could Be The Most Gruelling Leg Exercise In Existence

Just when you thought they couldn't get any tougher.

Man performing a Bulgarian split squat with rear foot in TRX band

Image: The Manual

The Bulgarian split squat is one of the most effective, yet hated lower body exercises there is. But if you thought that was hard, then just take a look at this variation…


Put forward by Dr Joel Seedman, owner of Advanced Human Performance and trainer to some of the NFL’s top players, he suggests we should add in “90 degree eccentric isometrics” to our Bulgarian split squats, through the use of resistance bands.

Taking to Instagram to show how this is performed, and using Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson as his guinea pig, Dr Seedman explains how his 90 degree eccentric isometric protocol (something he encourages for any movement) can help improve the much-maligned Bulgarian split squat.

WATCH: How to perform a chaos band Bulgarian split squat

Dr Seedman’s variation has a similar setup to the traditional Bulgarian split squat, in that the rear foot is raised behind you. In the traditional version, you would plant your rear foot on a bench, but in this variation, you plant it on a resistance band, which is attached to two posts. Adding a looped resistance band into your training is known as chaos band training.

The introduction of a resistance band over a bench provides instability, thereby putting a much greater emphasis on both the leading leg and your core, to keep the body stable to complete the movement. Barbend further explains that chaos band training “activates the body’s smaller stabilisers (shoulder, core and hips) while improving proprioception,” – the body’s ability to sense its location, movements, and actions.

Dr Seedman adds the introduction of his 90 degree eccentric isometric protocol “is not just the most effective method for improving athletic performance, stability, balance, explosive power, speed, and alignment but also for strength, muscle growth, and injury prevention.”

Another user adds a further explanation of what the Bulgarian split squat with chaos band does. They say, “Split squats with a chaos band increases the level of difficulty for both the plant leg and lumbopelvic hip complex. Not to mention it can help with mechanical elongation of a tight hip flexor.”

“This exercise works both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius in plant leg.”

Patrick Peterson may appear to have a cool look on his face whilst performing the split squat variation, but we can guarantee they’re going to induce a grimaced look upon yours if you give them a try.

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