International Journal of Exercise Science 14(1): 533-543, 2021. The Bulgarian split squat (BSS) is a unilateral lower extremity strength exercise; however, the mechanical demands have not been fully elucidated. The purpose of this study was to compare ankle, knee, and hip joint net joint moment impulse (NJMI), work (NJW), peak net joint moment (NJM) and peak displacement between the BSS and traditional bilateral back squat (BS). Following a practice and 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) session, 2x3 BS (70% 1-RM) and BSS (35% 1-RM) were completed by twenty resistance trained males (24.20 ± 2.50 yrs, 1.76 ± 0.06m, 85.3 ± 13.90 kg). Significant squat type x joint interactions were revealed for NJMI (p < 0.001), NJW (p < 0.001), peak NJM (p < 0.001), and peak displacement (p = 0.011). For both squats, hip NJMI, NJW, and peak NJM was significantly greater than both ankle (d = 5.50-9.40) and knee (d = 7.50-8.50). While knee NJMI (d = 2.80) and peak NJM (d = 2.10) during the BSS was statistically less compared to ankle, during BS knee NJMI was statistically greater than ankle (d = 3.00). Ankle and knee NJW were statistically similar during BSS (d = 0.30), whereas knee NJW was statistically greater than ankle during BS (d = 3.20). Comparing between squat types within each joint demonstrated statistically equal peak displacement for the ankle (d = 0.14) and hip (d = 0.11), whereas knee joint peak displacement was significantly less for the BSS compared to BS (d = 0.82). Both the BSS and BS are hip dominant exercises. The BSS may best be used in circumstances to focus on hip extension while minimizing the knee joint demands, such as the early phases of knee rehabilitation or when addressing isolated hip extension deficiencies.
Mackey, Ethan R. and Riemann, Bryan L.
"Biomechanical Differences Between the Bulgarian Split-Squat and Back Squat,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 14
1, Pages 533 - 543.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol14/iss1/10