Single “limb” training is a great way to correct any imbalances you may have developed over the years. It’s also a great way to break a plateau and get away from your normal everyday routine.
Over a 3 part series I’ll be going over single limb training for lower body – today – upper body pushes and upper body pulls. I’ll also be putting up a video workout for you guys to try as well.
Single leg training is an effective way to build strength in either leg individually while replicating athletic movements more closely than you would with double leg training.
Building Strength Through Single Leg Training
- You’ll find that your single leg strength in a squat isn’t close to half of your double leg strength, as you may think. Developing each leg individually will increase your strength in a double leg squat but also build each muscle properly without any imbalances.
- Balance and leg position also play more of a role in single leg training than they do in double leg training. In single leg training, often for balance purposes, your foot position is more centred than it would be in a double leg squat which is more of an athletic position (ie. you don’t run with your legs shoulder width apart or wider like you may squat, especially as you begin to add weight and lower your reps).
Improving Athleticism and Relevant Power
- I just said it in the building strength notes, but you don’t run with your feet positioned at shoulder-width apart. You also don’t dunk a basketball on one foot with your feet that far apart either. Single-leg training brings your feet further toward the center of your body, where they are when you’re running, jumping, and even skating.
- It also helps build more relevant power for the aforementioned movements as well. You’re basically adding weight to the same movement as you would be doing if you’re playing any sport.
In the video:
In the video I go through a single-leg workout including drop sets and supersets – the final set isn’t shown (single-leg smith machine squats that is paired with the Bulgarian split squat).
Keep in mind that the same principles apply, as far as proper form is concerned, when performing a single-leg squat-type exercise and a normal squat exercise.
- Don’t let your knees or nose go forward beyond your toes.
- Keep your weight on the heel portion of your foot.
- Stick your butt out and keep your chest parallel to the wall throughout the squat.
A1. Step-ups – use a barbell or dumbbells for this exercise. Keep the weight on the heel of the front foot. Continue 8-10 reps (should be hard to complete the last 2-3 reps), drop the weight by 25% and continue to 1 rep before failure. Repeat with the other leg.
B1. Single Leg, Leg press – place your foot in between the center of your body and your shoulder width. Again keeping the weight at your heel, lower the weight slowly then push as fast as possible on the press phase of the exercise, drop the weight by 50% and continue to 1 rep before failure.
C1. Bulgarian Split Squat – you can do this exercise with just your body weight or grab dumbbells. Have one foot on the ground, the other should be elevated on a bench with the weight on the front foot. Drop down to 90 degrees or lower, keeping your shoulders back, chest out and back straight.
What are some other single-leg exercises you enjoy?