Home Fitness Do the Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat for Dimension, Power, and Athleticism

Do the Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat for Dimension, Power, and Athleticism

Do the Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat for Dimension, Power, and Athleticism


In terms of constructing muscle one leg at a time, the Bulgarian cut up squat, also called the rear foot elevated cut up squat, often will get all of the reward and a focus. However the actual ones know the way underrated the entrance foot elevated cut up squat really is.

person outdoors performing leg exercise on street
Credit score: Zoran Pucarevic / Shutterstock

The unfairly neglected entrance foot elevated cut up squat is gaining fairly the recognition surge, particularly from its use in rehab and athletic settings. This upgraded cut up squat variation is often just a little extra comfy to arrange than the rear foot elevated choice and it will probably skyrocket your decrease physique muscle, energy, and athleticism. Right here’s a more in-depth take a look at this distinctive train.

Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat

The entrance foot elevated cut up squat, or FFESS, requires a high-level of stability throughout a protracted vary of movement, which may make the train troublesome to grasp. Comply with these method cues to sort out this single-leg train.

Step 1 — Set Up Your Platform

Person in gym standing on aerobic step
Credit score: Stability in Movement / YouTube

You’ll discover a large profit from even the slightest elevation. Any platform that’s at the very least two to 4 inches excessive will likely be adequate. A small cardio step or one or two weight plates work properly. Use bumper plates, if doable, to stop sliding. In case your gymnasium has an Olympic lifting platform with a raised edge, that may work too.

Type Tip: A staircase may seem to be a handy choice, however it’s doubtless too excessive to start out with and might make the motion too awkward. It is going to find yourself feeling extra like an indecisive hybrid between a cut up squat and a step-up whereas delivering the outcomes of neither.

Step 2 — Elevate Your Entrance Foot

person in gym elevating one foot on weight plate
Credit score: Iron Monk / YouTube

Having a powerful and secure entrance foot is, clearly, key to the entrance foot elevated cut up squat. Stand upright and set one foot flat on the platform. Preserve your complete foot involved all through every repetition. Don’t increase up onto your toes or heel.

Type Tip: Supportive footwear can play a surprisingly important position in your mobility, stability, and pressure manufacturing. (1) Old fashioned Chuck Taylor sneakers, devoted weightlifting footwear, or any stable-soled shoe is preferable. Tremendous-floppy, extraordinarily cushioned trainers are usually not excellent as a result of stability will likely be compromised as your foot compresses into the cushioning.

Step 3 — Set Your Again Foot

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

Your again foot must be as safe and secure as your entrance foot. Preserve your entrance foot in place and step again a cushty distance for you, relying in your leg size and normal mobility.

Relying in your ankle mobility, your again foot will doubtless be on the ball moderately than flat on the bottom. That is acceptable as a result of this foot is primarily for assist and steadiness, and won’t be producing a lot pressure into the ground.

Type Tip: For max steadiness and stability, ensure your again foot is in its personal “lane,” circuitously in keeping with your entrance foot. You shouldn’t really feel such as you’re perched on a skinny steadiness beam. You must really feel secure and grounded.

Step 4 — Decrease Your self With Management

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

Take a deep breath and really feel each ft securely in place earlier than descending into the rep. Really feel your decrease physique and your core being nonetheless earlier than descending. Preserve your higher physique upright together with your shoulders pulled again.

Bend your entrance leg and decrease your self with management. Descend as little as doable, ideally reaching your again knee to the bottom.

Type Tip: Relying in your mobility, your again knee ought to gently graze the bottom — with an emphasis on gently. Some lifters fail to concentrate through the descent and rapidly smash their again knee into the bottom. Don’t try this.

Step 5 — Drive As much as the Beginning Place

muscular person in gym doing foot-elevated lunge exercise
Credit score: PriorityStrength / YouTube

Whenever you’ve reached the deepest place your hip and leg mobility permits, push by way of your entrance leg to drive as much as a standing place

Preserve your higher physique near vertical as you drive up. Don’t enable your self to bend ahead on the waist. Repeat all repetitions with one leg earlier than switching sides.

Type Tip: It may be tempting to bounce out of the underside by leveraging the stretch reflex — a muscle’s capability to “rebound” through the transition from a stretched place to a full contraction for elevated momentum and energy. (2) Keep away from it to permit your glutes and quads to do all of the work. This may construct extra muscle by rising the time below stress, whereas retaining you safer by decreasing ballistic forces.

This train can really feel tough, particularly if you’re awkwardly organising for the primary time. Listed below are some widespread errors to keep away from.

Not Being Cellular Sufficient

Whereas this train will be nice for constructing mobility, in case your hip and ankle mobility resemble the Tin Man, you’ll wrestle to go deep sufficient to reap the muscle- and strength-building advantages. (3)

person in gym doing front foot elevated squat
Credit score: GrowFormance / YouTube

In case you’re unable to descend close to full-depth, the train gained’t be any completely different for constructing measurement or energy than a normal cut up squat, however it will probably nonetheless be useful as a mobility drill should you concentrate on bettering your depth as an alternative of including reps or weight.

Keep away from it: To carry out the train effectively, do a dynamic warm-up previous to your leg exercise to make sure your hips and ankles are completely mobilized and ready for coaching. Over time, this could assist to get into the deeper positions of knee flexion and hip flexion wanted to succeed in the underside place.

Not Going Low Sufficient

The aim of the platform elevation is to extend the vary of movement. It permits you to get into levels of knee and hip flexion that you simply couldn’t entry with different workout routines.

Person in gym doing single-leg lunge with kettlebell
Credit score: Kevin Maxen / YouTube

Nonetheless, it’s widespread to see individuals do the primary few reps with an ideal deep reps however, when the pump units in, they begin to compromise the vary of movement. Quickly sufficient, the “entrance foot elevated cut up squats” look like utilizing much less vary than conventional cut up squats with each ft on the bottom.

Keep away from it: Select an elevation stage that works for you and preserve each rep constant. Attempt to evenly contact your again knee to the bottom every rep, or at the very least get shut. Utilizing a folded towel or padded mat below your again knee can function a dependable goal so long as it permits your again knee to succeed in decrease than your entrance foot.

Being Too Wobbly

The elevated entrance foot-position will make steadiness tougher. The extra wobbly you might be, the much less muscle-building pressure you possibly can generate. To not point out, you’ll really feel self-conscious should you topple over whereas holding a pair of sunshine dumbbells.

In case you’re targeted on sustaining steadiness greater than you’re targeted on really coaching your legs, the general stimulus will likely be decreased and also you’ll waste power.

long-haired person in gym doing single-leg squat
Credit score: kristifitnick / YouTube

Keep away from it: Take your time to safe your foot place earlier than doing a few warm-up units. Even when your working weight will likely be comparatively mild, a warm-up set or two with solely your physique weight is usually a sport changer in getting ready your nervous system and core musculature to stabilize the load successfully. 

Contemplate together with the FFESS in your program as a result of it’s easy to progress. It additionally by no means runs out of development as a result of, should you do handle to expire of weights, your legs will likely be past elite standing at that time.

Start with Body weight

The bodyweight-only FFESS will be fairly humbling. Even for some superior lifters, the train will be difficult particularly when completed towards the latter a part of a exercise. Performing the train as a “finisher” when your legs are pre-fatigued from heavy coaching will be an eye-opening, leg-burning expertise.

The body weight FFESS can be a wonderful go-to train when you’ve restricted tools, like if you’re coaching at residence or on the street.

Loading with Dumbbells

When you grasp body weight FFESS, take into account including load through dumbbells. That is the best and most typical setup for loading — merely maintain a pair of dumbbells at your sides.

Utilizing a slender platform helps stop the dumbbells from clashing with the platform, particularly you probably have longer arms and attain most depth. Controlling the burden and never permitting the dumbbells to hit the platform works high-quality, as nicely.

Because the weights get heavier, and as you’re in a position to do extra reps per set, your grip will doubtless fatigue fairly a bit over the course of a number of units. As soon as you’re feeling it kick in, it’s best to use lifting straps or some kind of help to remove your grip as a weak hyperlink.

Barbell Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat

Barbells enable for probably the most loading, however they’re additionally probably the most time consuming to arrange together with including extra instability. Nonetheless, it is a mandatory compromise when you get sturdy.

Ensure you have a powerful, secure platform to assist the added weight. Arrange in a rack with security pins, just like performing squats. Progress like most barbell workout routines, including just a little extra weight and some extra reps from week to week.

This train has some distinctive methods of delivering its advantages. Right here’s why it’s best to incorporate the FFESS as quickly as doable.

Hypertrophy and Power

The entrance foot elevated cut up squat will produce single-leg energy and hypertrophy due to a protracted vary of movement and distinctive positioning in comparison with different train choices. The entrance foot elevation means that you can push your middle of mass ahead, bringing your hamstring towards your calf with out compromising torso place.

This stretches the muscle groups of the quads and glutes below load and will increase mechanical stress in comparison with bilateral squat variations. The unilateral (single-leg) nature helps with addressing potential imbalances and likewise maximizes vary of movement, which will increase hypertrophy. (3)

The energy you acquire from this train interprets effectively to many different workout routines. You’ll discover your single-leg and bilateral (two-leg) decrease physique workout routines getting stronger after specializing in the FFESS as an adjunct motion. 

Ache-Free Coaching

One of many foremost advantages individuals discover this train within the first place is to seek out pain-free options to barbell squatting. In case your joints are achy, this train is usually a good choice.

gray-haired person outdoors doing leg exercise
Credit score: Anatoliy Karlyuk / Shutterstock

It means that you can lighten the load whereas reaching ranges of motions you doubtless didn’t have entry to. Over time, you obtain pain-free muscle constructing. As well as, the FFESS reinforces new levels of hip, knee, and ankle mobility. 

The FFESS prioritizes your decrease physique muscle groups — good on your favourite leg day. Some core stability and higher physique stability is educated as nicely, particularly when utilizing added load.


The entrance foot elevated cut up squat primarily trains your quads. The entrance thigh muscle will get labored by way of a protracted vary of movement as you get into deep angles of knee flexion (bending). Together with your entrance foot elevated, you’ve the chance to drive your knee ahead for a deep weighted stretch within the quads. 


Much like many squat variations, your glutes are additionally going to get a major stimulus through the FFESS, particularly within the backside stretched place.

person holding kettlebells during lunge exercise
Credit score: Sergii Gnatiuk / Shutterstock

You’ll doubtless really feel extra glute soreness, particularly should you’re used to a comparatively shortener vary of movement from conventional squats and cut up squats.


The FFESS can even nail your internal thighs (adductors), notably in your entrance leg. This muscle will get a excessive diploma of stabilizing motion through the train, together with some dynamic contraction to increase your hips on the prime of the motion.

Typically talking, it’s finest to do unilateral workout routines after heavier bilateral workout routines to keep away from fatiguing necessary stabilizers. You’ll be able to program the FFESS after your heavy units of squats, probably because the second or third train of a decrease physique day.

Nonetheless, the stimulus from the FFESS is efficient and complete for the quads, glutes, and adductors, so it’s may also be legitimate to program them as your first train. That is excellent, for instance, for lifters with achy knees who don’t do nicely with heavy bilateral actions early within the exercise. Prioritizing the entrance foot elevated cut up squat permits your hips, knees, and ankles to be extra completely warmed up earlier than continuing to comparatively heavier lifting.

Average to Gentle Weight, Excessive Reps

This train is finest fitted to reasonable to mild weight. This permits for much less joint pressure and connective tissue stress, and means that you can higher management the burden which can provide you a greater mind-muscle connection.

front foot elevated split squat stance
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Most individuals will favor to do these with comparatively mild weight and better reps to create a powerful pump and a good stronger mind-muscle connection. With this method, some lifters might even have the ability skip any warm-up units, relying on how they really feel and the way their physique responds. Choose a load you are able to do for at the very least 12 reps, and crank out two or three units of 10 to twenty per leg.

Heavy Weight, Low Reps

In case you do FFESS early within the exercise, you possibly can go heavier. Your nervous system will likely be contemporary and you’ll stabilize heavier hundreds. Three or 4 units of 5 to 10 reps (per leg) is already fairly heavy for this train. You’ll nonetheless want one or two warm-up units, particularly should you’re sturdy and plan on approaching your limits.

Utilizing extraordinarily heavy weights for very low reps isn’t advisable as a result of the steadiness required for them will not be value it. It’s not the kind of train to check your one-rep max as a result of the chance:reward simply isn’t value it.

There’s a few efficient variations of the entrance foot elevated cut up squat for these which might be extra adventurous or wish to progress past the usual motion.

Heel-Elevated Cut up Squat 

As an alternative of simply elevating your entrance foot, add a further plate or ramp to raise your heel even larger. This places your foot right into a steep angle, creating much more knee flexion and makes an already quad-dominant cut up squat much more quad-dominant.

That is nice for these in want of significant quad progress or for athletes who wish to get used to deeper ranges of knee flexion, together with fight sports activities athletes, energy sports activities athletes, soccer gamers, or sprinters.

Double-Elevated Cut up Squat

If you wish to maximize your mobility and vary of movement, you possibly can elevate each the back and front foot. Basically, you might be combining the FFESS with a Bulgarian cut up squat. Extra vary of movement for each the entrance leg and the again leg can assist to skyrocket your quad and glute positive factors.

Setting this up will be cumbersome and requires some further house, however when you’ve decided a great arrange and know an efficient distance to set every platform, it must be fairly easy every time you’re within the gymnasium.

Often Requested Questions

What makes the entrance foot elevated cut up squat completely different than the rear foot elevated cut up squat (Bulgarian cut up squat)?

Relying in your construction and mobility stage, the 2 workout routines won’t be all that completely different. Nonetheless, most individuals will really feel their quads extra through the FFESS. You’ll be able to consider the entrance foot elevated cut up squat as a extra “quad-dominant model” of Bulgarian cut up squats.
FFESS are additionally simpler to setup and usually really feel extra comfy to carry out. Elevating your again foot with Bulgarian cut up squats often requires extra hip and ankle mobility and is usually a greater problem to take care of steadiness.

Why don’t I see extra individuals within the gymnasium doing the entrance foot elevated cut up squat?

Bulgarian cut up squats are merely extra in style lately. They’ve garnered a repute for being painful — the “good form” of ache from post-workout soreness — and extra “hardcore.” They’re an important train, however the entrance foot elevated cut up squat is beginning to catch up in reputation due to the rehab world.
Many physiotherapists assign the FFESS as a approach to prepare deep ranges of movement with decreased knee ache. Many individuals be taught the motion and find yourself realizing, “Oh, snap, these are nice even when I’m not making an attempt to rehab my knee due to the gnarly quad pump.”

Single-leg coaching is commonly neglected in lots of coaching routines. Performing workout routines with an elevated vary of movement, even moreso. The FFESS is a simple resolution to each of those deficiencies. This complete train will payoff with extra measurement, extra energy, higher mobility, and improved all-around efficiency. You simply must step as much as the problem.


  1. Legg, H. S., Glaister, M., Cleather, D. J., & Goodwin, J. E. (2017). The impact of weightlifting footwear on the kinetics and kinematics of the again squat. Journal of sports activities sciences, 35(5), 508–515. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1175652
  2. Seiberl, W., Hahn, D., Energy, G. A., Fletcher, J. R., & Siebert, T. (2021). Editorial: The Stretch-Shortening Cycle of Lively Muscle and Muscle-Tendon Advanced: What, Why and How It Will increase Muscle Efficiency?. Frontiers in physiology, 12, 693141. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.693141
  3. Schoenfeld, B. J., & Grgic, J. (2020). Results of vary of movement on muscle improvement throughout resistance coaching interventions: A scientific overview. SAGE open drugs, 8, 2050312120901559. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312120901559

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