As many of you may already know, the squat is the ultimate exercise for strengthening glutes and legs, encouraging muscle growth… and giving you a perky backside too! Squats can also help to improve posture and strengthen your core when done properly.
I do various types of squats a few times a week, and luckily there is a good variety of versions to choose from so that you don’t get bored!
The split squat (also called a Bulgarian squat) is an extremely popular type of squat. While it’s referred to as a single-leg exercise, it actually uses both of your legs. It really helps to strengthen your glutes, quads and hamstrings, plus it can help to alleviate imbalances between your left and right sides, and improve stability and co-ordination.
The split squat can be performed with the rear foot on the ground, or with the rear foot on a bench. No special equipment required! I do this type of squat in my Pilates Plus Dublin classes on a regular basis, and use the proformer machine to make it more challenging, as you really have to work to stabilise your whole body.
If you’re in a gym, you may want to add a weight to hold as you squat. But if you’re a beginner trying this out at home, ensure that you’re standing on a non-slip flat surface.
How to do a split squat:
- 1. Stand straight with one foot forward and other foot behind.
- 2. Squat down by flexing the knee and hip of your front leg. Allow the heel of your rear foot to rise up while the knee of your rear leg bends until it almost touches the floor. The lower you can get, the better!
- 3. Your knees should always point in the same direction as your feet. Keep your torso upright, shoulders down and core muscles engaged.
- 4. You could hold onto the back of a chair or a rail for stability, if necessary.
- 5. Return to your original standing position by extending hip and knee of forward leg. Repeat. Continue with opposite leg and aim for 3-4 rounds of 12-15 reps.