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Image source: bodyrock.tv

If you read my blog, you know how much I insist on working out for the lower body! Some time ago I wrote an article about the Chicken Legs Syndrome, which is a really “dangerous disease”. 😉

If you have been training for a while, I hope that you already incorporate squats and deadlifts in your training program and I do not need to remind you of their importance for a strong and healthy body!

Today I want to focus on unilateral exercises for the lower body ( or in other words single leg work). For the past 6 months, single leg work is a big part of my training program and I think that this has helped a lot for my progress.

More often than not, people neglect single leg work, first because these exercises are not so popular and  second, because they are a little more challenging, because they require a lot more balance and coordination.

Let me first share the positive sides of single leg work and then I will explain you how I incorporate them in my workouts and which single leg exercises are on my top list!

Positives:

1.They help remove the imbalance between your legs.

As you know, usually one of your legs is stronger than the other. I often notice people performing standard back squats, who rely more on one of their legs, when they are moving the weight back up. This leads to a slip to one side, which might lead to a serious injury, especially if you are using heavy weights. When you do single leg exercises, this couldn’t happen, because you rely on just one of your legs( the one that’s doing the work), and the other one either just assists the movement or just helps you balance.

2.They require a lot of balance

Single leg movements, help you improve your balance. A lot of people have problems with balance, because our daily life does not demand a lot of single leg balancing. Usually when I give a single leg movement to newer clients, they start swinging and are easily thrown off balance.

3.They require pretty good coordination

Nowadays a lot of people lack coordination and a lot of people have clumsy movements. This is not that bad, because it could be fixed. You just need a better physical culture. I assure you that if you learn to perform single leg movements, your coordination will be a lot better!

4. They load pretty good, the Glute Medius, Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL), Adductor Complex  and the contralateral (opposite) Quadratus Lumborum.

You should keep in mind that single leg movements help you strengthen a lot of muscles on your butt and legs!

5.Single leg movements help you improve your bilateral movements.

The better you become at doing single leg movements, the more the strength you gain, will transfer to the standard squats and deadlifts.

6. They develop the stabilizing muscles around your knees

At first sight, you might be thinking that these movements will ruin your knees, but this would be a wrong assumption. If you perform them the right way, they could help you improve your knee health!

How do I incorporate single leg movements?

As you know, I always incorporate two lower body exercises. Usually I start out with a bilateral movement( back squat, front squat or deadlift), as I usually use heavier weights and I try to be fresh and rested! That’s why I always start my workout with them. Then the other lower body movement is a single leg movement- pistols, lunges, bg squats, single leg deadlifts and other variations.

I’ve been working out like this for the past six months and I have never been in a better shape. I started lifting a lot heavier weights on the basic movements and I improved the imbalances between my legs. Besides that unilateral movements helped me strengthen my butt muscles, because they allow for a bigger range of motion, which helps me load muscles, that do not do so much work during a standard squat!

Which are my favorites?

Well, I already mentioned them.

Lunges

Bulgarian Squats( not because I am Bulgarian 😉 )

Pistols(read more here)

Single Leg Deadlift

I highly recommend you to incorporate this in your training program! I am sure that you will feel the difference!

Check out the best 6 exercises for killing butt and legs.

I highly recommend you read Ben Bruno’ s website for perfecting your lunges and Bret Contreras’ website for perfecting the hip thrusters.

Do you incorporate single leg movements in your program? Which one are your favorite?


P.S. If you liked this post, or if you find it helpful, please share it with your friends. I’d greatly appreciate it!

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Ines Subashka

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I am a ‘something-searcher person” and I have devoted my life to the mission to reveal myself, to improve, to collect the pieces of puzzle in my own nature, so that to give and to receive from life as much as possible. My Life is history, full of broken dreams, falls, disappointments and finally achieved awareness, that it all depends on me and that each opportunity can be a materialized reality. We only have to think and act in a way, which will lead us on the road to its implementation. The most valuable resources we have are our time and health, and our Body is the instrument, through which we use them, to crate the world we live in. I dedicated my life to share myself, the wisdom and experience, which had left after the mistakes I had done. I am doing this in order to help people find their way, which will let them “’reinvent”’ themselves, to restore their health, confidence and trust for life. I wish they could realize their own potential. Training is rehearsal for the life itself; this is the place, where on a few square meters in the IFS you can experience each of the possible sensations- triumph, fall, disappointment, hope, will, weakness, and most of all power. The place, where in “monitoring conditions”” you can remind your body how to move correctly, how to work in your interest. Everything I have tried to achieve through IFS and the trainings is to help people bring back their consciousness, health and freedom to be who they are-without doubting. I have given myself time to re-build and to re-invent myself! Give yourself time as well. Come and train with us in IFS!

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