Overhead Bulgarian Split Squat

By Mike Mejia, M.S., C.S.C.S

Muscles Trained: Entire lower body, core and scapular stabilizers of the upper back.

Importance to Swimmers: By requiring a unique combination of balance, flexibility and strength, this challenging drill allows you to work on several different aspects of fitness at once.

Execution: Stand facing away from an exercise bench that's positioned about two to three feet behind you. Holding a broomstick, or light bar in your hands, reach your left foot back and rest the instep on top of the bench as you balance on your right foot. Standing up straight and tall, with the bar positioned directly over your head, begin by bending both knees as you descend into a split squat position until your front leg is parallel to the ground. Pause there for a second, then press back up keeping the bar in the same position throughout the exercise. Repeat until you've completed 8-10 repetitions and then switch to the other side.

Performance Tips 

  • The addition of the bar overhead increases the stretch on the hip flexors, chest and lats- areas where swimmers tend to be especially tight.
  • Try to drop into your back knee as much as possible and avoid allowing your front knee to drift too far forward past your toes.
  • Keep your core braced tight and torso as upright as possible to reduce strain on the lower back.
  • Start out with an unweighted broom stick to master the form. Once your strength, balance and flexibility allow, you can use a light barbell, or body bar to increase the difficulty.

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