All the single leggies

by | November 20, 2018 | Fitness, Health, Sport performance

It’s been a while since we did a full-blown training and exercise post.
 
So, here we go. 
 
Single-leg movements. 
 
When you look at sports, most movements happen on one foot. 
 
Whether it’s running, jumping, throwing or changing direction…
 
There is usually just one foot in contact with the ground at any point in time. 
 
Getting strong on one leg can help drive your performance to the next level, 
 
It can teach your knees to stop dropping inwards (umm, hello ACL tears), 
 
Plus, they can also tighten up your glute game! 
 
So, athletes need to make sure that they are strong with these movements in order to optimize performance and to prevent injury. 
 
We are going to break down single-leg movements into a ton of variations. 
 
We’ll start with the single-leg supported variations. 
 

1. Single-leg supported exercises

What this means is the back leg is supported as the front leg works. 
 
These include things like lunges, split squat variations and lateral squat and lunge variations. 
 

a. Reverse Lunges

i. Reverse lunge with blocked knee 
 

 
ii. Conventional reverse lunge 
 
 
iii. Curtsey lunge
 
 
iv. Front-foot elevated reverse lunge 
 
 
v. Slideboard reverse lunge 
 
 
Loading options:
 
These loading options can be applied to any of the movement variations above. 
 
We have put them in order of least- to most challenging 
 
i. Plate loaded: Plate-loaded variations bring the centre of mass a little forward and make it easier to stay upright in your lunges. Grab a plate, press it out in front and hold it there with the shoulders held back and down. 
 
 
ii. Bodyweight: Just use what your mama gave ya! To make bodyweight variations more difficult, add a little pause at the bottom portion of the exercise. 
 
iii. Goblet: You can load the old kettlebell in front by either holding it bottoms-up or by grabbing the bull by the horns. You can also hold a dumbbell out in front like your holding an ice cream sandwich. 
 
 
iv. Dumbbells: Just hang those dumbbells beside the hips and try to crush those handles. 
 
v. Band front-loaded: hook that band around the leg that will be in front, bring your band on top of your shoulders and use a cross-face position to keep the band up. 
 
 
vi. Barbell front-loaded: the old front rack position…you can either grab the bar in an Olympic style grip, cross-face grip or with the chin-block
 
 
vii. Barbell backloaded: Throw the bar across the bar of your shoulders, keep your ribs pulled down and giddy up. 
 
 
viii. Kettlebell 2-arm front-loaded: the kettlebells will sit on the front and lateral aspect of the upper arm and shoulder. Keep the wrist neutral and the armpits squeezed tight. 
 
 
ix. Kettlebell 1-arm front-loaded – this creates an asymmetrical pattern of loading, so get ready to clamp down on those abs and really squeeze that butt. 
 
 

b. Forward Lunges

i. Walking Lunge
 
 
ii. Forward lunge to box
 
 
iii. Forward Lunge
 
 
Loading options:
 
Same as reverse lunges above. 
 

c. Split squats

i. Split squat with blocked knee 
 
 
ii. Conventional split squat 
 
 
iii. Rear-foot elevated split squat  
 
 
iv. Rear-foot elevated + front-foot elevated split squat 
 
 
Loading options: 
 
Same as reverse lunges above. 
 

d. Lateral variations 

i. Lateral squat 
 
 
ii. Cossack squat 
 
 
iii. Lateral Lunge 
 
 
iv. Cossack lunge 
 
 
v. Slideboard lateral lunge 
 
 
Loading options: 
 
Again, same as above.
 
 

2. Single-leg unassisted 

Next, we’ll talk about single-leg unassisted movements. 
 
With these variations, the working leg is not assisted by the back leg. 
 
That working leg is all on its own! 
 
These include step-up and hinge variations
 

a. Step-ups

i. Forward Step-up
 
 
ii. Cross-over step-up
 
 
Loading options:
 
Same as reverse lunges above. 
 

b. Hinge variations

-Upright exercises 
 
i. Bowler squat 
 
 
ii. 1-leg deadlift
 
 
Loading options:
 
i. One dumbbell: hold a dumbbell in the hand opposite to the working leg. 
 
 
ii. Two dumbbells: Ummm, yeah….
 
 
iii. Barbell: grab a barbell with an overhand or mixed grip and go! 
 
 
iv. Landmine: set up a barbell in the corner of the room and giddy up.
 
 
v. Band-resisted: throw the bar over your head and wear it like suspenders. Lightly grab the band with your hands. 
 
 
-Supine exercises
 
i. 1-leg glute bridge
 
 
ii. Ukrainian hip thrust
 
 
iIi. 1-leg hip thrust
 
 
Loading options:
 
i. Dumbbell: throw a dumbbell across your hips and hold the outside of it with your hands
 
 
ii. Banded: anchor a band down and throw that puppy across your hips like a safe-belt 
 
 
iii. Barbell: wrap a bar with a mat or a towel, roll the bar over your hips and GO! 
 
 
 

Wrap-up

The options are endless when it comes to single-leg movements. 
 
And It can be a little overwhelming to pick one exercise from all of these variations…
 
so start with this:
 
Pick one single-leg assisted movement
 
and
 
One single-leg unassisted movement. 
 
Make sure you are 90% confident you can do them.  
 
Perform 2-4 sets of 6-10 reps. 
 
When you can do a clean 10 reps, 
 
Move on to the next variation, 
 
Or add a little weight to your current variation and start back with 6 reps. 
 
It doesn’t have to be complex! 
 
The most important thing you can do is take action. 
 
Right now!
 
Go! 

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