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Do the Bulgarian Split Squats Make Your Butt Bigger?

author image Kevin Rail
I am very genuine and magnetic on camera, and have made numerous videos on my own for clients and other organizations that I'm affiliated with. I also have a degree in Sport Management, and multiple certifications to back up my validity. I've also been featured in three different exercise infomercials and had a speaking role in a National Lampoons movie.
Do the Bulgarian Split Squats Make Your Butt Bigger?
A man is doing a split squat. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

A Bulgarian split squat is a variation of the regular type of squat. As the name implies, your legs are placed in a split position instead of together. This exercise is often performed to add variety to lower body workouts and to increase muscle fiber recruitment. When certain variables are taken into consideration, the Bulgarian split squat can make your butt bigger.

Anatomy of the Butt

The butt contains three muscles known anatomically as the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Collectively, these muscles function to extend and abduct the hip. Hip extension occurs when you move your thigh in a backward direction. Being that the Bulgarian split squat involves this motion, it could in fact make your butt bigger.

Proper Exercise Form

Doing the Bulgarian split squat with poor lifting mechanics will not only compromise your size gains, but it will also increase your chances for injury. The exercise is advanced so it is really important to pay attention to detail. Always move through a full range of motion, never use momentum, and keep your body in correct alignment. Begin with your back to a weight bench and hold a barbell across your upper back with your hands in a wide grip. Carefully raise your right leg and place the top of your foot flat on the bench. While keeping your back straight, abs tight and gaze fixed forward, bend your left knee to lower your body. Stop when your thigh is parallel to the floor and steadily rise back up. Squeeze your glutes forcefully at the top of the movement, finish a set of reps, and switch sides. When doing the exercise, do not let your front knee go past your toes. If it does, step forward a little farther.

Compound Exercise

The Bulgarian split squat is a compound exercise. This means it works more than one muscle at a time. Compound exercises promote maximal gains in size and strength. In addition to the glutes, you also work your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. The quads run down the front of the thighs, the hamstrings sit on the back of the thighs, and the calves are found below the knees on the back of the legs.

Resistance Utilized

Using a light weight will only take you so far when it comes to building a bigger butt. You are better served by lifting a heavy weight to fully tax your glutes. A standard barbell weighs 45 lbs. and it has room on the ends for more weight plates. These range from 2½ to 45 lbs. Aim for a resistance that is so heavy you can only do eight to 12 reps with proper form. If you don't like the feeling of a heavy bar across your back, hold dumbbells at your sides. These start as low as 1 lb. and go well over 100.


Performing Bulgarian split squats every day to achieve fast results is not a good idea. Your muscles actually grow when they are being rested. Take at least one day off between workouts to give your glutes time to recover.

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