How one can Do the Entrance Foot Elevated Break up Squat for Measurement, Energy, and Athleticism

In terms of constructing muscle one leg at a time, the Bulgarian split squat, often known as the rear foot elevated break up squat, often will get all of the reward and a spotlight. However the actual ones understand how underrated the entrance foot elevated break up squat really is.

Credit score: Zoran Pucarevic / Shutterstock

The unfairly ignored entrance foot elevated break up squat is gaining fairly the recognition surge, particularly from its use in rehab and athletic settings. This upgraded break up squat variation is usually a bit of extra snug to arrange than the rear foot elevated possibility and it may possibly skyrocket your lower body muscle, strength, and athleticism. Right here’s a better have a look at this distinctive train.

Entrance Foot Elevated Break up Squat

The entrance foot elevated break up squat, or FFESS, requires a high-level of stability throughout an extended vary of movement, which might make the train tough to grasp. Comply with these method cues to deal with this single-leg train.

Step 1 — Set Up Your Platform

Person in gym standing on aerobic step
Credit score: Steadiness in Movement / YouTube

You’ll discover a large profit from even the slightest elevation. Any platform that’s a minimum of two to 4 inches excessive will likely be adequate. A small cardio step or one or two weight plates work properly. Use bumper plates, if doable, to stop sliding. In case your fitness center has an Olympic lifting platform with a raised edge, that may work too.

Type Tip: A staircase may appear to be a handy possibility, but it surely’s probably too excessive to start out with and might make the motion too awkward. It is going to find yourself feeling extra like an indecisive hybrid between a split squat and a step-up whereas delivering the outcomes of neither.

Step 2 — Elevate Your Entrance Foot

person in gym elevating one foot on weight plate
Credit score: Iron Monk / YouTube

Having a robust and steady entrance foot is, clearly, key to the entrance foot elevated break up squat. Stand upright and set one foot flat on the platform. Hold your whole foot in touch all through every repetition. Don’t elevate up onto your toes or heel.

Type Tip: Supportive footwear can play a surprisingly vital position in your mobility, stability, and pressure manufacturing. (1) Old style Chuck Taylor sneakers, devoted weightlifting footwear, or any stable-soled shoe is preferable. Tremendous-floppy, extraordinarily cushioned trainers should not preferrred as a result of stability will likely be compromised as your foot compresses into the cushioning.

Step 3 — Set Your Again Foot

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

Your again foot needs to be as safe and steady as your entrance foot. Hold your entrance foot in place and step again a snug distance for you, relying in your leg length and common mobility.

Relying in your ankle mobility, your again foot will probably be on the ball relatively than flat on the bottom. That is acceptable as a result of this foot is primarily for assist and stability, and won’t be producing a lot pressure into the ground.

Type Tip: For max stability and stability, be certain your again foot is in its personal “lane,” circuitously in keeping with your entrance foot. You shouldn’t really feel such as you’re perched on a skinny stability beam. You must really feel steady and grounded.

Step 4 — Decrease Your self With Management

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

Take a deep breath and really feel each toes securely in place earlier than descending into the rep. Really feel your decrease physique and your core being nonetheless earlier than descending. Hold your higher physique upright along with your shoulders pulled again.

Bend your entrance leg and decrease your self with management. Descend as little as doable, ideally reaching your again knee to the bottom.

Type Tip: Relying in your mobility, your again knee ought to gently graze the bottom — with an emphasis on gently. Some lifters fail to concentrate throughout the descent and shortly smash their again knee into the bottom. Don’t do this.

Step 5 — Drive As much as the Beginning Place

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

If you’ve reached the deepest place your hip and leg mobility permits, push via your entrance leg to drive as much as a standing place

Hold your higher physique near vertical as you drive up. Don’t enable your self to bend ahead on the waist. Repeat all repetitions with one leg earlier than switching sides.

Type Tip: It may be tempting to bounce out of the underside by leveraging the stretch reflex — a muscle’s skill to “rebound” throughout the transition from a stretched place to a full contraction for elevated momentum and energy. (2) Keep away from it to permit your glutes and quads to do all of the work. This may construct extra muscle by rising the time underneath rigidity, whereas maintaining you safer by lowering ballistic forces.

This train can really feel difficult, particularly while you’re awkwardly establishing for the primary time. Listed below are some frequent errors to keep away from.

Not Being Cellular Sufficient

Whereas this train will be nice for constructing mobility, in case your hip and ankle mobility resemble the Tin Man, you’ll battle to go deep sufficient to reap the muscle- and strength-building advantages. (3)

person in gym doing front foot elevated squat
Credit score: GrowFormance / YouTube

If you happen to’re unable to descend close to full-depth, the train gained’t be any totally different for constructing measurement or energy than a typical break up squat, however it may possibly nonetheless be helpful as a mobility drill in case you deal with enhancing your depth as a substitute of including reps or weight.

Keep away from it: To carry out the train effectively, do a dynamic warm-up previous to your leg exercise to make sure your hips and ankles are completely mobilized and ready for coaching. Over time, this could assist to get into the deeper positions of knee flexion and hip flexion wanted to achieve the underside place.

Not Going Low Sufficient

The aim of the platform elevation is to extend the vary of movement. It permits you to get into levels of knee and hip flexion that you just couldn’t entry with different workouts.

Person in gym doing single-leg lunge with kettlebell
Credit score: Kevin Maxen / YouTube

Nevertheless, it’s frequent to see individuals do the primary few reps with an ideal deep reps however, when the pump units in, they begin to compromise the vary of movement. Quickly sufficient, the “entrance foot elevated break up squats” look like utilizing much less vary than conventional break up squats with each toes on the bottom.

Keep away from it: Select an elevation degree that works for you and hold each rep constant. Attempt to frivolously contact your again knee to the bottom every rep, or a minimum of get shut. Utilizing a folded towel or padded mat underneath your again knee can function a dependable goal so long as it permits your again knee to achieve decrease than your entrance foot.

Being Too Wobbly

The elevated entrance foot-position will make stability more difficult. The extra wobbly you might be, the much less muscle-building pressure you’ll be able to generate. To not point out, you’ll really feel self-conscious in case you topple over whereas holding a pair of sunshine dumbbells.

If you happen to’re targeted on sustaining stability greater than you’re targeted on really training your legs, the general stimulus will likely be diminished and also you’ll waste vitality.

long-haired person in gym doing single-leg squat
Credit score: kristifitnick / YouTube

Keep away from it: Take your time to safe your foot place earlier than doing a few warm-up units. Even when your working weight will likely be comparatively gentle, a warm-up set or two with only your body weight is usually a recreation changer in making ready your nervous system and core musculature to stabilize the load successfully. 

Contemplate together with the FFESS in your program as a result of it’s easy to progress. It additionally by no means runs out of development as a result of, in case you do handle to expire of weights, your legs will likely be past elite standing at that time.

Start with Body weight

The bodyweight-only FFESS will be fairly humbling. Even for some superior lifters, the train will be difficult particularly when accomplished towards the latter a part of a exercise. Performing the train as a “finisher” when your legs are pre-fatigued from heavy coaching will be an eye-opening, leg-burning expertise.

The body weight FFESS can be a wonderful go-to train when you will have restricted gear, like while you’re coaching at dwelling or on the road.

Loading with Dumbbells

When you grasp body weight FFESS, take into account including load through dumbbells. That is the best and most typical setup for loading — merely maintain a pair of dumbbells at your sides.

Utilizing a slender platform helps stop the dumbbells from clashing with the platform, particularly if in case you have longer arms and attain most depth. Controlling the load and never permitting the dumbbells to hit the platform works advantageous, as effectively.

Because the weights get heavier, and as you’re in a position to do extra reps per set, your grip will probably fatigue fairly a bit over the course of a number of units. As soon as you’re feeling it kick in, you need to use lifting straps or some form of help to remove your grip as a weak hyperlink.

Barbell Entrance Foot Elevated Break up Squat

Barbells enable for essentially the most loading, however they’re additionally essentially the most time consuming to arrange together with including extra instability. Nevertheless, it is a obligatory compromise when you get robust.

Ensure you have a robust, steady platform to assist the added weight. Arrange in a rack with security pins, just like performing squats. Progress like most barbell workouts, including a bit of extra weight and some extra reps from week to week.

This train has some distinctive methods of delivering its advantages. Right here’s why you need to incorporate the FFESS as quickly as doable.

Hypertrophy and Energy

The entrance foot elevated break up squat will produce single-leg energy and hypertrophy due to an extended vary of movement and distinctive positioning in comparison with different train choices. The entrance foot elevation permits you to push your middle of mass ahead, bringing your hamstring towards your calf with out compromising torso place.

This stretches the muscle tissues of the quads and glutes underneath load and will increase mechanical rigidity in comparison with bilateral squat variations. The unilateral (single-leg) nature helps with addressing potential imbalances and likewise maximizes vary of movement, which will increase hypertrophy. (3)

The energy you achieve from this train interprets effectively to many different workouts. You’ll discover your single-leg and bilateral (two-leg) lower body exercises getting stronger after specializing in the FFESS as an adjunct motion. 

Ache-Free Coaching

One of many essential advantages individuals discover this train within the first place is to search out pain-free alternate options to barbell squatting. In case your joints are achy, this train is usually a excellent possibility.

gray-haired person outdoors doing leg exercise
Credit score: Anatoliy Karlyuk / Shutterstock

It permits you to lighten the load whereas attaining ranges of motions you probably didn’t have entry to. Over time, you obtain pain-free muscle building. As well as, the FFESS reinforces new levels of hip, knee, and ankle mobility. 

The FFESS prioritizes your decrease physique muscle tissues — excellent to your favourite leg day. Some core stability and higher physique stability is skilled as effectively, particularly when utilizing added load.


The entrance foot elevated break up squat primarily trains your quads. The entrance thigh muscle will get labored via an extended vary of movement as you get into deep angles of knee flexion (bending). Together with your entrance foot elevated, you will have the chance to drive your knee ahead for a deep weighted stretch within the quads. 


Just like many squat variations, your glutes are additionally going to get a big stimulus throughout the FFESS, particularly within the backside stretched place.

person holding kettlebells during lunge exercise
Credit score: Sergii Gnatiuk / Shutterstock

You’ll probably really feel extra glute soreness, particularly in case you’re used to a comparatively shortener vary of movement from conventional squats and break up squats.


The FFESS can even nail your interior thighs (adductors), notably in your entrance leg. This muscle will get a excessive diploma of stabilizing motion throughout the train, together with some dynamic contraction to increase your hips on the prime of the motion.

Usually talking, it’s finest to do unilateral workouts after heavier bilateral workouts to keep away from fatiguing vital stabilizers. You possibly can program the FFESS after your heavy sets of squats, presumably because the second or third train of a lower body day.

Nevertheless, the stimulus from the FFESS is efficient and complete for the quads, glutes, and adductors, so it’s may also be legitimate to program them as your first train. That is preferrred, for instance, for lifters with achy knees who don’t do effectively with heavy bilateral actions early within the exercise. Prioritizing the entrance foot elevated break up squat permits your hips, knees, and ankles to be extra completely warmed up earlier than continuing to comparatively heavier lifting.

Reasonable to Mild Weight, Excessive Reps

This train is finest fitted to reasonable to gentle weight. This enables for much less joint pressure and connective tissue stress, and permits you to higher management the load which can provide you a greater mind-muscle connection.

front foot elevated split squat stance
Credit score: BarBend / YouTube

Most individuals will want to do these with comparatively gentle weight and better reps to create a robust pump and an excellent stronger mind-muscle connection. With this strategy, some lifters could even give you the option skip any warm-up units, relying on how they really feel and the way their physique responds. Choose a load you are able to do for a minimum of 12 reps, and crank out two or three units of 10 to twenty per leg.

Heavy Weight, Low Reps

If you happen to do FFESS early within the exercise, you’ll be able to go heavier. Your nervous system will likely be contemporary and you may stabilize heavier masses. Three or 4 units of 5 to 10 reps (per leg) is already fairly heavy for this train. You’ll nonetheless want one or two warm-up units, particularly in case you’re robust and plan on approaching your limits.

Utilizing extraordinarily heavy weights for very low reps just isn’t advisable as a result of the steadiness required for them is probably not price it. It’s not the kind of train to check your one-rep max as a result of the chance:reward simply isn’t price it.

There’s a few efficient variations of the entrance foot elevated break up squat for these which can be extra adventurous or need to progress past the usual motion.

Heel-Elevated Break up Squat 

As an alternative of simply elevating your entrance foot, add a further plate or ramp to raise your heel even larger. This places your foot right into a steep angle, creating much more knee flexion and makes an already quad-dominant break up squat much more quad-dominant.

That is nice for these in want of great quad development or for athletes who need to get used to deeper ranges of knee flexion, together with fight sports activities athletes, energy sports activities athletes, soccer gamers, or sprinters.

Double-Elevated Break up Squat

If you wish to maximize your mobility and vary of movement, you’ll be able to elevate each the back and front foot. Basically, you might be combining the FFESS with a Bulgarian break up squat. Extra vary of movement for each the entrance leg and the again leg might help to skyrocket your quad and glute gains.

Setting this up will be cumbersome and requires some further area, however when you’ve decided a very good arrange and know an efficient distance to set every platform, it needs to be fairly clean every time you’re within the fitness center.

Incessantly Requested Questions

What makes the entrance foot elevated break up squat totally different than the rear foot elevated break up squat (Bulgarian break up squat)?

Relying in your construction and mobility degree, the 2 workouts won’t be all that totally different. Nevertheless, most individuals will really feel their quads extra throughout the FFESS. You possibly can consider the entrance foot elevated break up squat as a extra “quad-dominant model” of Bulgarian break up squats.
FFESS are additionally simpler to setup and usually really feel extra snug to carry out. Elevating your again foot with Bulgarian break up squats often requires extra hip and ankle mobility and is usually a greater problem to keep up stability.

Why don’t I see extra individuals within the fitness center doing the entrance foot elevated break up squat?

Bulgarian break up squats are merely extra in style in recent times. They’ve garnered a repute for being painful — the “good form” of ache from post-workout soreness — and extra “hardcore.” They’re a fantastic train, however the entrance foot elevated break up squat is beginning to catch up in reputation due to the rehab world.
Many physiotherapists assign the FFESS as a approach to prepare deep ranges of movement with diminished knee ache. Many individuals be taught the motion and find yourself realizing, “Oh, snap, these are nice even when I’m not making an attempt to rehab my knee due to the gnarly quad pump.”

Single-leg coaching is commonly ignored in lots of coaching routines. Performing workouts with an elevated vary of movement, even moreso. The FFESS is a simple resolution to each of those deficiencies. This complete train will payoff with extra measurement, extra energy, higher mobility, and improved all-around efficiency. You simply have to step as much as the problem.


  1. Legg, H. S., Glaister, M., Cleather, D. J., & Goodwin, J. E. (2017). The impact of weightlifting footwear on the kinetics and kinematics of the again squat. Journal of sports activities sciences, 35(5), 508–515.
  2. Seiberl, W., Hahn, D., Energy, G. A., Fletcher, J. R., & Siebert, T. (2021). Editorial: The Stretch-Shortening Cycle of Lively Muscle and Muscle-Tendon Complicated: What, Why and How It Will increase Muscle Efficiency?. Frontiers in physiology, 12, 693141.
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., & Grgic, J. (2020). Results of vary of movement on muscle growth throughout resistance coaching interventions: A scientific evaluate. SAGE open drugs, 8, 2050312120901559.

Featured Picture: Steadiness in Movement / YouTube

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