Rear foot elevated split squats, Bulgarian split squats, call them what you may as long as you include them in your training.
Unilateral exercises are important but sometimes overlooked, which is unfortunate because they offer many benefits. They help correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The Bulgarian split squat challenges all the muscles of the lower body and helps improve mobility while at the same time increases stability and balance. It is a great alternative to barbell back squats as it puts less strain on the low back, but can also be used as an accessory exercise to improve your back squat.
Personally, I utilize many different variations of the RFESS in addition to back and front squats. Over the course of the COVID-19 lockdown here in Ontario I did not have access to a squat rack. Instead, I decided to put my focus on unilateral training and slow eccentrics. The RFESS was at first extremely challenging, but quickly became my favourite unilateral lower body exercise.
There are many variations of the RFESS, but before you add external weight should master your own bodyweight first. In my opinion you should be able to perform at least 10 smooth, controlled reps with a pause at the bottom on each leg before grabbing dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.
Despite the variation, the set up and execution of this exercise is the same. Using a bench or chair or box no higher than knee height, elevate your rear leg by placing the top of your foot on the bench. I try to find the correct placement of my front leg before doing this, but sometimes I still need to adjust and wiggle around a little bit. I use a narrow stance to avoid pulling groin muscles and lean my torso forward for proper hip hinge mechanics. As I descend my knee travels on tops of my toes, but not excessively past them. You may have to play around a bit and find the ideal position for yourself.
Here are a few of the variations I regularly utilize below. I encourage you to add this exercise to your repertoire.
Next week is March break so I thought I’d change up my group training classes and play fitness bingo! Participants must make a line (50 points), four corners (50 points), and/or an “x” (100 points) to attain the highest score possible. I’ve designed it so no matter which they choose to complete, they’ll get a full body routine. They can break up the reps any way they like in order to complete the exercises with the best form possible. The weight chosen must challenge their strength while considering the number of reps; lowering the weight before the reps are completed is allowed only if it’s 100% necessary.
I chose exercises that can be completed with the equipment I have at my disposal in the group training studio, feel free to give it a try if you have access to such equipment. If you aren’t sure of the exercises, shoot me an e-mail, or look it up on good old google. You can always change it up and choose other exercises, or make changes the number of reps -the groups I train are pretty fit people, so I made it rather challenging.
I apologize if the “bingo” card is cut off, I added a link at the bottom that should open a “PDF” copy if you wanted to print it. If that doesn’t work, I can definitely send it to you. Thanks for stopping by, keep moving!
The kettlebell is an excellent tool that can be used to improve strength, power, and aerobic fitness. Although the bulk of my personal fitness programs utilizes dumbbells and barbells, I do enjoy picking up the kettlebell every now and again. It’s beneficial since it offers variety to my workouts and activates my muscles differently than other free weights.
Here is a circuit I enjoy performing either on “off” days from my regular strength training, or I’ll complete a couple rounds at the end of my workout for some conditioning work.
Please excuse the quality of the video! Watching it made me realize that using my phone won’t do, having someone else to film it would help, I shouldn’t film it while at work (haha), and I say “okay” way too much – but hey! It’s progress, not perfection.
1. Around the world x10-15 rotations ea. direction
2. Basic swing x20-30 solid reps
3. Goblet Squat x8-12 reps
4. 1-Arm Bent Rows x8-12reps ea. side
5. Windmill x8-12reps
6. Single legged deadlift x8-12 ea. leg
Perform 3-6 rounds
If you have any questions about this workout, or the exercises it consists of, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the “Train with me” tab above.
I’ve always enjoyed walking. Long before I began taking my fitness and health seriously, I walked regularly. Going for a leisure walk should not be underestimated, nor should it be considered boring. It provides many health benefits and is great for those who cannot, or do not like to run.
I won’t get into all of the benefits of walking (great for heart health, blood pressure, stress relief, and more); I just wanted to share my love for this simple act. Whether you take a stroll on a warm sunny day, or a cool fall evening, or even in the rain, it may just give you a new perspective on things.
I am pretty good at overwhelming myself with thoughts that ultimately do me no good. Thoughts related to work, money, relationships, and god knows what else. However, these thoughts seem to dissipate as my walk goes on, and by the end it all seems so miniscule.
Take a second to look up at the sky, at the clouds, and the swaying tree tops. Look at the grass, the flowers, and all the little creatures along the way. Breathe in the air and appreciate the beauty this earth has to offer. After doing so, you may just realize that the world is so much bigger than your concerns.
Even if you don’t feel up to the trek, go anyways. I can almost guarantee your max 5 minutes will turn into 10, and then maybe 20. Take your music with you, or invite a friend if you like company. I’m lucky enough to have my best friend (Laska, my dog) come with me every time.
Take a walk.
I’m keeping it short and simple today. Thank-you for reading!