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How to Do Bulgarian Split Squats

The 1 Booty Exercise Everyone in Hollywood Is Doing — and How to Do It

There are all kinds of lower body exercises out there that will tone and shape your legs and butt. But there's one movement in particular that could easily be named the Queen of Booty Gains — the Bulgarian split squat.

When Emma Stone tacked on 15 pounds of pure muscle for her role as tennis champion Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, her trainer Jason Walsh had her doing all kinds of heavy lifting. And judging by her physical transformation, he's the guy to listen to when it comes to booty gains. He told POPSUGAR that Bulgarian split squats and hip thrusts were the two best exercises to do in order to build your booty.

Similarly, Alison Brie, star of original Netflix series GLOW, also trained with Jason, and she said she gave up cardio to adopt weight training instead. She specifically cited the Bulgarian split squat as one of the primary moves that helped her shape up and get superstrong. You can even see her doing the movement on her Instagram.


A post shared by Alison Brie (@officialalibrie) on

Even Jasmine Tookes, a Victoria's Secret Angel who is known to be a fitness lover, swears by the Bulgarian split squat.

So why is this move so worthy of our time? Jason says it activates your glutes more than any other squat variation, and it allows you to really target your booty. And you can do it all without putting unnecessary pressure on your knees! Why not try it for yourself?

If you're new to Bulgarian split squats, here's a a crash course:

  • Begin by placing the toes of your right foot on a bench, box, stair or chair, with your left leg straight.
  • Make sure your left foot is out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.
  • Bend your left knee, squeeze your right glute, and lower your pelvis toward the ground.
  • Press your left heel into the ground to straighten your left knee. This completes one rep.
  • Do 15 reps before switching legs.

One of the most important things to remember is that the platform on which your back foot rests shouldn't be too high. It only needs to be about 12 inches tall, because anything higher than that will restrict your range of motion, meaning you won't be able to get as deep into your butt. And you can always start with a basic split squat and work your way up to the elevated version.

Aim for three to four sets of 15 reps on each leg, and don't be afraid to add some weights. You can either hold a dumbbell in each hand or one kettlebell at your chest as if you're doing a goblet squat. The added resistance is going to be your ticket to growing that booty.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
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