I know several different methods of how to load a bulgarian split squat:

  • use dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides
  • use a dumbbell or a kettlebell in goblet position
  • use a barbell in front squat position
  • use a barbell in back squat position
  • use a barbell between your legs

How does those loading techniques compare with respect to:

  • which muscles are involved more or less
  • functional training effects
  • safety
  • which joints are stressed more or less

Are there any good reasons to prefer one of them?

Are there any points in technique which changes significantly with the loading technique?

1 Answer 1


My thoughts:

If you're already doing things like squats (back/front), deadlifts, and other barbell movements, then go ahead and reduce the stress for BSS. Thus, go with dumbbells/kettelbells for them. Dumbbells/kettlebells will tax your central nervous system less because of their nature. They will also be safter than placing a loaded barbell on your back (or wherever) as getting into position for BSS is already difficult.

As for DB/kettelbell placement, try both and see how you like it. I've always found that putting them by my sides challenges me to stay upright more, requiring me to balance as I go through the movement.

Final thought (something many mentors have taught me in the iron game), remember not to major in the minor.

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