In lifting circles, the barbell back squat has always been considered the king of exercises. But what if—either due to injury or an inability to get the form right—you can’t squat?
Turns out, training one leg at a time can be just as effective and provide an alternate path to stronger, more athletic legs. Just last year, a study in the International Journal of Exercise Science compared muscle activity in the back squat, split squat (both legs on the floor and a split stance), and Bulgarian split squat (rear foot elevated). There was no significant difference in the amount of muscle activated by the three exercises, except that the Bulgarian split squat worked more of the hamstrings—meaning, Bulgarian split squats can be a useful alternative to barbell squatting.