Big arms are great, and no one is going to turn up their nose to a strong, broad back. But if you really want to put in some high-reward work in the weight room, you’ll target your glutes. They’re the biggest muscle in your body, and giving them some extra love will do more than just fill out your pants. The glutes are key for explosive, powerful movements, and if you’re doing nothing but sitting on them all day, you’re in danger of a dead butt.
You should be targeting the muscles with workouts like this finishing series from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The Bulgarian pause superset gives you a chance to force your glutes to work overtime for growth.
“This move is all about pushing your glutes to fire—and then stay hyper-involved in your squatting,” says Samuel. “You can never have enough glute strength or power, and you’ll develop it here.”
The positioning of the pulse Bulgarian is the key to making that happen. “By utilizing a vertical shin angle on the front leg, we insure that the move is driven by our hamstrings and glutes, and they have to work super-hard to drive you into a standing position,” Samuel says.
To take on the Bulgarian pause superset finisher, you’ll need a set of kettlebells and an elevated platform like a bench for your foot. If you need a set to try this at home, check out this option from CAP Barbell.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Start with the kettlebells in a front rack position with your foot up on the platform. Check here for some tips on getting into position for the Bulgarian split squat.
- Bend your knee to squat down, lowering until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and keeping the shin of your planted foot in a vertical position. Raise up slightly then back down to pulse, then stand up to complete the rep.
- Perform 8 to 10 of those pulse squat reps.
- Immediately step forward into a square stance. Perform 6 to 8 reps of pause squats, waiting for a count before standing back up.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
The toughest part of the series might be the final reps at the end. “You’re shifting from a unilateral move to a bilateral move and operating with uneven fatigue, so when you descend into that first rep, you should feel off-balance; use the pause to reorganize how you’re applying full-body tension,” says Samuel. “Once you do that, you’ll get to appreciate the beauty of this superset: It’s supercharging your squats. You’ll find yourself firing up with great acceleration and power, partly because you’re now operating with two legs, and partly because of the glute stimulation you created during the pulse Bulgarian work.”
Add the finisher to your leg day with 3 sets through the whole series.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swoleworkouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program on our All/Out Studio app.
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