RFE Split Squat: Benefits and How to Do It Correctly

Also called The Bulgarian split squat, The RFE (rear foot elevated) split squat can be described as one of the most effective single squat exercises. This compound exercise can aid in building serious glute and leg muscles.

Simply put, the RFE split squat is a great way to help you take your lower strength training for your body into the upper levels.

RFE Split Squat : Working Muscles

How To Do RFE Split Squat

Primary Muscle Group

It is believed that the RFE split squat is designed to work the quadriceps and the glutes. The four muscles at the top of the leg that make up the quadriceps are the rectus fascia, the vast intermedius massive medialis, and the vast lateral.

It is believed that the Bulgarian split squat is intensely stimulating the quadriceps muscles. This boosts the hypertrophy of the muscle cells.

Additionally, the glutes are subject to tremendous tension in exercises like the RFE divided squat.

The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus form three gluteal muscle groups. The exercises target three gluteal muscles. The gluteus maximus muscles are most involved during the workout.

This RFE split squat will ensure the strongest muscle contraction in the gluteal.

Secondary Muscle Groups

The RFE split squat works the hamstrings, core muscles adductors, calves, and hamstrings. When you lower yourself to the floor, your core muscles are accountable for stabilizing the body to keep your balance.

The hamstrings also play a function in the movement. When you do your Bulgarian split squat, your hamstrings help support your quadriceps, strengthening the lower portion of the leg to assist you in completing the exercise correctly. In addition, the adductors and calves are also able to support the lower part of your body.

RFE Split Squat: Benefits

RFE Split Squat Alternatives

#1 Size & Strength Gains

It is believed that the RFE split squat puts tremendous stress on your glutes, quadriceps, and hips. When your body is in safe stress and strained, it reacts by strengthening and expanding the stressed muscles. The lower body muscles are essential for explosive motions like jumping, running, or other exercises such as the traditional squat or deadlift.

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Suppose you’re a record-holder in weightlifting or someone completely new to fitness. In that case, that lower body strength will give you a solid foundation that can be relied upon to reach your goals.

#2 Advanced Muscle Imbalances

Bulgarian split squats are the perfect exercise for strengthening one leg at one time. Many people suffer from muscular imbalances because of previous sporting events or injuries. If one leg is more powerful than the other, master this split squat exercise to balance out the muscles imbalances.

#3 Convenience

Another advantage of the RFE Squat is its ease of use aspect. There is no equipment required for this workout. You require a couch, chair, or a similar surface, and you’re ready to go!

RFE Split Squat: Instructions


For RFE split squat, all you require is an upper surface (bench or chair, couch, etc. ).


  • Begin by placing your trail feet on the level surface in front of you.
  • Step forward with your leading foot until you’re trailing leg bent slightly.


  1. Lean slightly forward while keeping the back straight.
  2. Connect your abdominal muscles, then squat down to the front of your leg.
  3. Stop for a second at the end of the rep, then drive up using the lead leg.
  4. Maintain tightness in your core; repeat!


This RFE split squat can be difficult since it requires stability and balance. Single leg split squats, do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps until you are comfortable with the posture. Of course, you are free to change the rep and set intervals to push yourself.

RFE Split Squat: Mistakes

RFE Split Squat Mistakes

#1 Leaning Backward

One of the most common mistakes committed when performing an exercise like the Bulgarian split is to lean backward, placing too the burden on your foot trailing. This can result in an overextended back posture that excessively strains your spine.

Leaning in your trail shoe will also help reduce the tension in your front leg, which reduces your chances of gaining.

Instead, focus most of the weight on your forefoot. Then, move your body forward slightly to enhance the efficiency and safety of this RFE-divided squat.

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#2 Moving Your Weight In A Circular Motion

While it is a good idea to lean a bit forward when doing the RFE split squat, you should avoid shifting your weight throughout the exercise. Weightlifters often transfer their weight to their feet when they squat down and then back to their trail feet when they push up.

This shift of weight forward puts the knee in front of you at a high risk of being stressed. Instead, it will feel like you’re moving your knees upwards and downwards on a horizontal plane without shifting your body weight back and forth.

#3 Standing Too Close To The Elongated Surface

Another frequent RFE mistake to avoid is standing too close to the chair or bench. This can limit your movement and cause your front heel to rise out of the ground when you lower yourself.

This puts your ankle in an unstable position and reduces the strain on your back leg. Instead, you should step further until you can comfortably sit down and keep your foot on the ground.

RFE Split Squat: Variations

RFE Split Squat Benefits

#1 Barbell RFE Split Squat

If you think you’ve got your body weight Bulgarian split squats, consider adding some more weight. Take a barbell and put the weight of a medium to light weight.

Perform the split squat barbell using the same form as the variation with bodyweight.

#2 Dumbbell RFE Split Squat

This dumbbell Bulgarian split squat provides a different method to add weight to the exercise movement. The dumbbells being held in a squat position can help increase the forearm’s activation and strengthen the strength of your grip.

If you need a more challenging workout than the bodyweight squat, take a look at a pair of dumbbells!

#3 Zercher Bulgarian Split Squat

This Zercher RFE Split squat adapts to the traditional barbell Bulgarian split squat. Instead of putting this barbell onto your back, you can secure it to the crook or arm.

This workout targets your forearms and biceps while also engaging your lower body and lower body, resulting in a complete body exercise.

RFE Split Squat: Alternatives

If you’ve enjoyed the split squat exercise from RFE, then check out these other glute and leg exercises that will increase the quality of your lower body workout:

#1 Single-Leg RDL

Take a stand with your feet close to each other. Put all the weight of your body on just one foot and keep it in this posture. Engage your core and pull your shoulders upwards and downwards.

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As long as you keep your spine straight, place your hips back, then begin to lean towards the front. Continue to lean toward the back until it is in line with the floor. There should be a noticeable tension in your hamstrings.

Reverse the motion before returning to the standing position. You will tighten your glutes. Stay tight in your core and continue!

#2 Alternating Side Lunges

Stand up with your toes slightly angled to the side and feet about your shoulder-width apart.

Maintaining your leg straight, bend your right knee, then shift the weight towards your right side. Afterward, return to the starting position and repeat the exercise on your left. Switch legs!

#3 Curtsy Lunge

Begin from a standing posture with your chest elevated with your spine straight.

While keeping your left leg straight in the front, step forward with your right foot towards the left. Your knees will become bent, as well. Your legs should become “crossed.” You must ensure that your left knee is directly above your ankle on the left. At this moment, you’ll look like you’re doing the curtsy!

Then, you will drive up slowly until you reach standing. Repeat the motion using your right foot to the front. It is possible to switch legs following every repetition or after each set.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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