How To Do Barbell Split Squats

Barbell Split Squat is an unilateral leg exercise that is great for challenging the legs to work independently. This independent work helps create legs’ structural balance to carry equal strength and muscle mass, giving your lower body more balanced look. 

In a case of regular squatting (lateral feet alignment), a dominant leg often takes more work. With an exercise like barbell split squats, it forces each leg to handle the same amount of work and prevents muscular imbalances. 

Benefits of the Barbell Split Squat

It’s important to have a good leg strength ratio between the lower body muscle groups (hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductors), but what’s more important is that the strength in your right leg, should also be equal to the strength in your left leg. Barbell Split Squat does exactly that. It’s one exercise that excels at equalizing leg strength and muscle structures between your two legs.  

Besides creating good asymmetrical balance in your lower body, barbell split lunge is an excellent exercise for working the glutes(butt), hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductors(muscles of your inner thighs), giving you a nice sculpted, round backside. 

Alternative Exercises

Among other unilateral leg exercises, lateral lunge and Bulgarian Split Squat are other lunge/squat unilateral variations that work your adductors( inner thighs), abductors (outer thighs), glutes(butt) and hamstrings. Lateral lunge is great at challenging each leg to work independently. Unlike squats where unintentionally places more work on the dominant leg, side lunge forces each leg to handle the same work load. Again, this leads to better balance, strength, and flexibility. If you find yourself squatting habitually, add Barbell Split Squat or Lateral Lunge to enhance your muscle balance and improve strength on your weaker leg. 

How to do it:

  1. Hold a bar across your upper shoulders with an overhand grip. Pull your shoulder blades and so that the bar can rest comfortably. Stand in a split position with one leg in front of the other about 2-3 feet apart. Make sure your front knee is slightly bent and raise the heel of your back foot. Some of your weight is on the ball of your back foot. Tighten your abs and butts.
  2. Keeping your torso upright, squat down by lowering your body until your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times before switching sides.

Exercise Table



  • Your back knee should be almost touching the floor.
  • Your lower back should be naturally arched.
Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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