I rarely make definitive statements. There’s almost always an exception or someone that could have a different opinion.
But in this case, I know I’m 100% correct.
The best/worst exercise of all time is… Bulgarian Split Squats.
Whether you do them unsupported,
Or supported, or in a drop set,
they will always be painful, but so effective.
If you don’t have good stability or want to be able to fully recruit the max number of muscle fibers, holding on and/or doing a drop set is a great variation to try while improving your balance.
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, mental toughness.
Why I love them: I haven’t found a client who, “doesn’t feel them working”. They are hard whether you do high reps of bodyweight or lower reps with weight. They are good for mobility. They improve imbalances. They help with teaching clients how to keep their knee in the right “track” for single and bilateral exercises (lunges and squats). They are great for teaching how to “drive through the foot”, which is crucial for good form and recruiting the lower body muscles properly.
Who can do them: Everyone.
Where to start: If you are a very beginner master a split squat first. (The bulgarian split squat is also known as a rear-foot elevated split squat).
How many reps/sets: This depends on your goals, but start in the mid to higher rep ranges before adding load and decreasing reps. So if you need a place to start, go with the classic 3 sets of 8-10 reps per leg.
Do you agree or do you think there’s another best/worst exercise out there?