One of my favorite accessory movements, when done correctly, is the bulgarian split squat. And big emphasis on done correctly, as I think most people who have tried and ditched this movement typically found more frustration than benefit due to improper technique. Something like a belt squat or leg press is a fantastic movement to add lower body volume, but it also takes out a large aspect of positional awareness and stability, as the machine does it for you. This has the benefit of taking away much of the thinking and just allowing a lifter to perform the movement, but I’d argue the transferable skill is a bit different. Whereas with a bulgarian split squat, much like a competition squat, it requires a very specific balance and tension distribution to perform correctly and be strong at. As well as the uni-lateral benefits of isolating each leg can be of big help for someone who may have asymmetry of strength or kinesthetic awareness between legs.
In the above videos, I break down how I teach the bulgarian split squat for powerlifting. And while this could apply really to anyone performing this movement, not just powerlifting, it’s mainly aimed towards how we can perform this movement to maximally transfer to our competition squat. I made a story post yesterday with one of my athletes repping out 120lb. dumbbells on bulgarian split squats and had numerous responses from people in awe. But the fact is I would argue most powerlifters have no idea how strong they can be at this movement. I use the example with my athletes all the time of my M4 70 year old female athletes who both can rep out 40lb.+ dumbbells. While on the other end I have some people sandbagging with 30lb. dumbbells, but competition squatting 500-600lbs. Now I am not saying to have an ego and just do a ton of weight for the sake of it. But for those athletes I’ve had who have progressed these properly through the correct mechanics, I’d argue there isn’t a better lower body accessory movement for a powerlifter.