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    Registered User VTLifts's Avatar
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    Split squats working glutes/hamstrings as much as quads - any tips?

    I'm having problems keeping the tension mostly on my quads during bulgarian split squats.

    My setup involves my rear foot placed flat down on a bench in a straight line back from the hips. I descend until my knee barely touches the ground and extend up with a slight forward lean of my upward body.

    I feel my glutes and hamstrings are working just as hard and sometimes harder than my quads.

    I've watched numerous you-tube videos on proper form. And while core tenants remain the same, there is some variation in terms of foot placement, motion and body angles.

    So looking for any good tips to keep the tension on the quads would be appreciated.

    I guess the key variables I can tweak are (i) height of rear foot (ii) angle of rear leg (iii) depth at the bottom and extension at the top (iv) distance of front foot (v) upper body angle.

    Thanks.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    The prime mover is still the quad. Just because you 'feel' something in your hams or glutes doesn't mean they are somehow taking over and doing most of the work. And you don want to activate them too, in reality trying to isolate muscles completely isn't necessary or even desirable IMO.
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    ^^Definitely this. No matter what you do, a split squat will always target quads more than other muscles. Not inherently a bad thing to have the others involved, though.

    Also, I think you're right on the key variables. If your front foot is too far forward, you'll definitely be relying more on your hamstrings to pull back and stabilize. If your front foot is closer to the bench, your hamstrings will already be shortened and won't be physically able to assist the movement that much.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    The prime mover is still the quad. Just because you 'feel' something in your hams or glutes doesn't mean they are somehow taking over and doing most of the work. And you don want to activate them too, in reality trying to isolate muscles completely isn't necessary or even desirable IMO.
    That last sentence is particularly important
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    Elevate your heels on the front foot with a wedge or weight plate to create more knee flexion
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    First off you can't totally "isolate" a muscle when training it,other muscles are always involved to degree or another.
    You can though direct more force/tension to it as described above with how you do the movement and in this case foot placement and upper body angle.
    You got it pretty much with your last sentence as BeginnerGainz mentioned.
    I would move the foot back so the knee will come out farther than the foot,and focus on more of your weight being on the ball of the working foot for more quad.
    Think driving slightly backward instead of straight up when doing these.
    Dont worry about the knee coming forward if your controlled and precise in your movement.
    Oly lifters have great quads and squat in a similar way with a barbell.
    Good luck.
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    I'm having problems keeping the tension mostly on my quads during bulgarian split squats.

    My setup involves my rear foot placed flat down on a bench in a straight line back from the hips. I descend until my knee barely touches the ground and extend up with a slight forward lean of my upward body.

    I feel my glutes and hamstrings are working just as hard and sometimes harder than my quads.

    I've watched numerous you-tube videos on proper form. And while core tenants remain the same, there is some variation in terms of foot placement, motion and body angles.

    So looking for any good tips to keep the tension on the quads would be appreciated.

    I guess the key variables I can tweak are (i) height of rear foot (ii) angle of rear leg (iii) depth at the bottom and extension at the top (iv) distance of front foot (v) upper body angle.

    Thanks.
    If you combine the key points of the following three videos, your vastus lateralis and medialis will be humming.

    https://youtu.be/w4OUtEO27UM

    https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a...n-split-squat/

    https://youtu.be/G_1gjHaIG8s
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