INBA athlete Ire Wardlaw explains if it’s better to do front squats or Bulgarian split squats.
Front squats and Bulgarian splits squats are excellent lower body exercises to have in your plan. The question is, which is more effective for building muscle in your lower body? Well, International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) athlete Ire Wardlaw gave some insight on social media, explaining which is better.
Ire Wardlaw competed in her first amateur bodybuilding show recently at the 2022 INBA Iron Gladiator. She won the Women’s Physique Novice category and the Most Symmetrical and Iron Gladiator Shield award.
On Instagram (IG), she uploaded a post covering whether Bulgarian split squats or front squats are better. According to Wardlaw, it depends. Wardlaw stated:
“FRONT SQUATS PREDOMINATELY TARGETS THE QUADS. ( BUT YOU NEED MOBILITY TO KEEP YOUR ELBOWS PARALLEL TO THE GROUND AS YOU GO INTO THE FRONT SQUAT). BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS ACTIVATES THE QUADS AND GLUTES SIMULTANEOUSLY. SO IT DEPENDS ON YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR LEGS, YOUR BODY’S LIMITATIONS OR NO LIMITATIONS, MOBILITY AND EXPERIENCE IN WEIGHT TRAINING.”
You can see her full IG post and picture of her doing front squats and split squats here.
Front Squats Vs. Bulgarian Split Squats
As Wardlaw addressed, front squats are superior to Bulgarian split squats for targeting your quads. Since the front squats rest on your upper chest/collar bone, they target your anterior chain (front side) more than back squats, which work the muscles in your posterior chain more (glutes, hamstring). Moreover, front squats allow you to lift heavier weights since you use both legs to complete a rep.
Bulgarian split squats are more effective for engaging your glutes. Also, Bulgarian split squats will engage your core more since you need good stability to perform the movement. That’s because Bulgarian split squats are a unilateral (single-limb) exercise.
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Performing front squats or Bulgarian split squats depends on your goal. We recommend front squats if you want to focus on building strength or developing stronger quads. However, Bulgarian split squats are the clear winner if your goal is improving your balance and having a stronger core and glutes.