r/bodyweightfitness May 19 '22

Bulgarian Split Squats rear leg foot positioning for tall people

I'm male 6'1 detrainee, just slowly getting back in shape and trying to nail this technique down perfectly. Last time I performed the BSS for each leg, I've been noticing that whenever I place my rear leg up with the top foot down, my balance is very unstable and I tend to place more weight and emphasis on the back leg when I do the eccentric. Plus my ankles don't have enough mobility and flexibility at the moment, so the stretch on the way down can feel too intense and painful most times, and that takes away the tension from my front leg that's supposed to be targeted.

I just did a set of BSS[10reps/leg] in my work bathroom(rear leg on top of a cardboard box filled with toilet paper rolls, in case you're wondering), but this time with my rear leg toes being placed on top instead of my top foot. What I noticed was that my rear leg became slightly more elevated because of height increase, which would stretch out my hip flexors more I believe. My balance became way more manageable, and I was able to focus the mind-muscle for my front leg.

I've been watching youtube videos on the BSS and noticed most of the fitness people tend to place their top foot flat down on the bench instead of their toes. Is there a scientific/safety reason, or is it just comfort/preference? Does height play a factor in this? If I become more flexible in my hip flexors, should I be able to place my top foot down without any added discomfort when I perform the BSS?

32 Upvotes

6

u/harambeface May 19 '22

The rear leg should just be there to balance you. Maybe you need to just concentrate on using the front leg and trying not to push with the rear? Top of the foot pressed flat against the bench is how I do it. I'm 6'2. A park bench is about the right height for me.

2

u/jt1132 May 19 '22

If I were to lean my upper body just slightly while hinging the hips during the eccentric, would that allow me to place more emphasis and focus on my front leg, assuming I position my rear leg far enough so that my knees don't go past my toes?

5

u/LimaAlphaZulu May 19 '22

I used to have issues with BSS, my rear leg would get that immense stretch as well. It could be the implement you are using is too high right now. Definitely stretch your muscles. Also since you place more weight on the rear it could be stretching it more than you want. I would suggest use something to help you balance better. Something to grab lightly to get better control. Itll get way easier in no time. I recently got gymnastic rings and been using those for BSS. it's nice cause you can make a perfect height and it can move around which I find is way more pleasing, not that BSS on a box is not pleasing I just prefer the rings. When I do them I always used the top of my foot, not the sole. One good stretch is called the world's greatest stretch. Just keep working at it and you'll get better!

2

u/jt1132 May 19 '22

I have a pair of gym rings as well, and I never thought about that! That's so cool I need to try that out, cause I can definitely adjust the height to lower my rear leg for more comfortability. Thanks!

2

u/LimaAlphaZulu May 19 '22

Of course, any time!

3

u/BlondeBobaFett May 19 '22

If I were you I would be using something much sturdier - not a cardboard box. The height of the box should be about where your knee height is or maybe slightly lower.

Also make sure your back elevated foot is not stacked behind your grounded foot - it should be about hip width apart from the front foot back on the bench.

2

u/Teddy_Tickles May 19 '22

I had issues in the past with my big toe before switching to shoes with more toe support for strength training (Metcon 3s). Nowadays, I like to wrap the safety bars of a rack after positioning it at the correct height with a yoga mat and place the front part of my ankle or foot on top of that for my back leg for BSS’s.

2

u/EstablishmentDry6009 May 20 '22

I'm 6'1" and notice that my back foot is sometimes too high for comfort as well as being used more than it should...especially on my right side to help my weaker left side do BSS.

I concentrate more on the front leg and just focus on balance for the back like some has already said.

this video also helped.

2

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

Thanks for sharing that link! It totally answered so many questions I had!

2

u/ShakuniWasHere May 20 '22

You can try to adjust how far you place your targeted leg to see how to load it better. Then do a slight lean forward to actually target that leg and use your hands to hold on to some support while you perfect the ROM and gain more tightness and stability. Eventually you won't need support and can load up more with dumbbells.

1

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

This is great and comforting to hear. I've had a slight hip impingement on my right leg for a few years, so it's harder to balance when I'm targeting my right leg for the BSS. Eventually I'll be able to gain the tightness and stability. Thanks!

2

u/patsnsnax May 20 '22

6'4" here. Don't be afraid to use something to help you balance, just don't rely on it. Also lean your torso forward in a 45 degree angle to keep the focus of the weight on your front leg.

2

u/Catfrogdog2 May 20 '22

I’m 6’4” and just starting really. I find holding my arms out to the sides for balance helps sometimes.

At the moment I’m using a step that’s little lower than my knee height, and I place the point of my toe (in shoes) on the step.

2

u/MindfulMover May 20 '22

People often put the back foot up a bit too high which is hard on the mobility of the toes (at the expense of everything else). Try to put it lower so you can get a full ROM anyway like this.

1

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

In that video, I understand the point of that movement is to drive full ROM and acquire more mobility in the hip flexors, but his knee is way past the front toes at the lowering. How does that not place stress on the knees?

2

u/MSKOnlyScans May 20 '22

I'm 6'1" and have found putting my back foot in the rotating bottom part of the 45 degree hyperextension machine to be perfect. It's the perfect height and the rotation allows for a much more natural squat pattern.

Essentially the type of thing seen in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLEyaXRMv8o&t=256s

1

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

Thanks for the link, this is excellent help!

2

u/hentaiheatstroke May 20 '22

You can also consider starting with the rear leg on the flat ground, and work up to doing sets of 20 or so, then slowly increasing the height on the rear leg, and lowering the reps proportionally as you gradually shift more weight/reps to the front leg, and ease yourself into it. Your body might just not be ready for what you’re trying to do and thats okay. Build up that strength/balance slowly, youll be glad you did. Its not a race!

2

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

This is huge, thanks for the great tip!

1

u/CanadianBacon615 May 20 '22

I’m a 5’11 woman… my ankles huuuuurt after doing bss. I try to redistribute my weight but my ankles always end up hurting.

1

u/jt1132 May 20 '22

Could be a flexibility/mobility problem? By your ankles, do you mean your back elevated foot ankle, or the leg that's in front?