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4 Single-Leg Exercises You Definitely Haven’t Tried

If you’re trying to enhance your general efficiency, health, or aesthetics, single-leg workouts ought to be a key element of your exercise program.

Single-leg coaching delivers some fairly superb advantages together with:

  • Glutes, glutes, glutes! We typically hear that glutes are a product of squats and deadlifts, however actually, single-leg workouts play a key position in serving to construct power and including muscle. In reality, single-leg coaching won’t solely produce stronger and extra developed glutes, it additionally improves the power and improvement of your quads, hamstrings, and decrease leg muscle tissues.
  • Greater power in your squat, deadlift, and hip thrust. While that is pretty simple, performing single-leg workouts may have a constructive carryover impact to double-leg workouts. Adding in some single-leg squatting, lunging, hinging, and thrusting actions will enhance your capability to squat, deadlift, and hip thrust.
  • Improved sports activities particular efficiency and athleticism. Most of the actions that happen in sports activities, and for that matter, in on a regular basis life, are unilateral (involving one limb at a time). Some examples of some of these athletic actions embrace: jogging, sprinting, striding, leaping, hopping, bounding, planting, tackling, and kicking.
  • Better stability and stability. People typically attempt to enhance their stability and stability by coaching on unstable surfaces just like the Bosu or a wobble board, however one of the crucial efficient methods to enhance your stability and stability is to carry out single-leg workouts on a secure floor. 1,2
  • Reduced danger of damage. Many accidents happen on account of an imbalance in power (and sometimes mobility). Performing single-leg workouts will handle these imbalances and make the physique extra immune to damage.
  • Training round accidents. When you’re injured, you possibly can typically nonetheless enhance your power with single-leg workouts whereas avoiding extra traumatic bilateral workouts. This is particularly helpful in the event you’ve sustained a again damage and have to keep away from workouts like barbell squats and deadlifts when you get well. Also, in the event you’re injured and may’t practice one limb, some research have proven that performing power coaching workouts on the other limb will assist decelerate muscle and power loss on the injured aspect.three,4,5
  • Improved symmetry. From an aesthetic standpoint, performing single-leg workouts may help you obtain higher muscular symmetry.

Inarguably, there’s a super quantity of profit to be gained from single-leg workouts,but single-leg coaching is usually uncared for, as many individuals focus solely on extra typical (and maybe ego-boosting) double-leg workouts like squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. Since most actions in on a regular basis life and sport are unilateral in nature, so as to reap the advantages listed above, as a basic rule, I like to recommend together with single-leg decrease physique workouts as a key component in a well-rounded coaching program.

Single-leg workouts might be categorized into squatting, lunging, hinging, and thrusting actions. Here are 4 of my favorites that I encourage you to attempt:

Skater Squats

The skater squat, because the identify implies, is a squatting motion. This extraordinarily underrated and under-utilized train strengthens and develops the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. The skater squat requires a mixture of stability, power, and mobility.

Equipment wanted:

Depending on which variation you select, you will have nothing greater than your personal body weight, a weight plate, or dumbbell(s).

Coaching Cues:

  1. Start out with simply your body weight.
  2. Stand on one foot with a slight bend in your knee. Keep all your weight over the center/again of your foot, protecting your toes down and unfold (notably your huge and child toe). This will dramatically enhance your stability and skill to enhance this train.
  3. Take a deep breath in by way of your nostril, brace your core, and gently tuck your rib cage down in the direction of your hips (shut the area in your midsection).
  4. Simultaneously carry out a single-leg squat together with your standing leg as you stride again together with your inactive leg, extending each of your arms forward of you to create a counterbalance, which can make the train slightly simpler to carry out.
  5. Take three full seconds to decrease your self down in a secure and managed method. You can stride again together with your inactive leg (therefore the identify “skater” squat) or hold it bent at about 90 levels.
  6. Your entrance knee ought to by no means collapse inward or outward. This will doubtless take some apply, however as soon as you’ll be able to obtain this stability, your glutes and quads of the entrance leg will probably be working big-time.
  7. You can contact the knee of the again leg right down to the ground, or cease when it’s a couple of inches above the bottom (the latter will make the train considerably tougher).
  8. Contract your glutes to return to the beginning place, exhaling by means of the motion.
  9. Reset and repeat earlier than every rep, till you’ve carried out the specified variety of reps, then repeat with the other leg.

Regression:

You could make this train simpler by touching your knee of the striding leg right down to a pad/mat.

Progressions:

Once you’ll be able to carry out six or extra correctly executed reps with simply your body weight, you’ll be able to progress to holding a dumbbell or plate and increasing your arms ahead as it will assist together with your stability. You could make it tougher by holding the load near your chest as this removes the counterbalance help.

For a further problem, maintain two dumbbells down by your sides, carry out this train with a barbell in a front- or back-loaded place, or stand on a field/step and do deficit skater squats.

Single-Leg Band Pull-Throughs

This single-leg train is a hip hinging motion, and strengthens and develops the muscle tissue within the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings). You can even use this train as a part of your warm-up earlier than you any deadlift variation.

Equipment wanted:

You will want a resistance band and a safe publish, column, or rack on which to lock the band. The thicker the band, the tougher the train will probably be.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Fasten a resistance band round a safe construction, resembling a squat rack, at a peak between your shin and your knee.
  2. Stand on one foot with slight bend in your knee. Keep all your weight over the center/again of your foot, retaining your toes down and unfold (notably your huge and child toe).
  3. Take a deep breath in by means of your nostril, brace your core, gently tuck your rib cage down in the direction of your hips, “screw” your arms into your armpits.
  4. Hinge your hips again, reaching again with one leg. Imagine that you’re making an attempt to push your glutes right into a wall behind you. Make positive your hips or torso don’t twist when you’re hinging your hips again, and maintain your backbone in impartial alignment throughout the train.
  5. Return to the highest by driving by way of the center/again of your foot and squeezing your glutes and hamstring, exhaling via the motion.

Tip: Contract your lats to “screw” your arms into your sides (fake that you’re crushing one thing in your armpits), and brace your core to lock out, however keep away from hyperextending your again or flaring your rib cage.

Regression:

You could make this train simpler by performing the double-leg variation till you achieve the required power and stability to carry out the single-leg variation.

Progressions:

You could make this train tougher through the use of a thicker band, as long as you’ll be able to carry out it appropriately. You can even carry out adverse reps, taking three full seconds to hinge your hips again.

Hanging Single-Leg Hip Thrust with Leg Curl

The hanging single-leg hip thrust with leg curl includes each, a single-leg hip thrust and a single-leg hamstring curl. This train strengthens and develops the hamstrings and glutes, and strengthens the muscle mass within the higher physique and the anterior core. I typically carry out this train after I’ve carried out some heavier compound actions for the posterior chain muscular tissues, like deadlifts or hip thrusts.

Equipment wanted:

You will want a bench or field, and a barbell that’s arrange in a squat rack. A Smith Machine, TRX or rings will even work.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Set up a barbell in a squat rack at about stomach button peak, and place a bench in entrance of the barbell.
  2. Sit on the ground between the bar and the bench, dealing with the bench, and place the center (or the heel) of 1 foot on the bench. Reach up and seize onto the barbell with both a pull-up or chin-up grip, interact your lats and pack your shoulders (hold them packed all through all the motion).
  3. Take a deep breath in via your nostril, brace your core, and gently tuck your rib cage down in the direction of your hips.
  4. Drive by way of the foot on the bench and contract your glutes to boost your hips up, exhaling via the motion. Engage the glute of the inactive leg as nicely to stop your pelvis from tilting or rotating.
  5. At the highest of the hip thrust, transition right into a single-leg curl and actually squeeze your hamstring. Your leg ought to stay secure, and your knee ought to by no means collapse in or out.
  6. Return to the beginning place in a sluggish and managed method. While nonetheless sustaining a impartial backbone, drop your hips as little as potential. Reset and repeat.

Tip: Maintain a impartial backbone your complete time. Lock out on the prime of the hip thrust by squeezing your glutes, not by hyperextending your decrease again or flaring your rib cage.

Regression:

You could make this train simpler by performing the double-leg variation till you achieve the required power and stability to carry out the single-leg variation.

Progressions:

You could make this train tougher by pausing on the prime of the hip thrust for 3 to 5 seconds and squeezing your glutes, or by performing destructive reps and actually difficult your muscle mass eccentrically, taking three to 5 seconds to decrease the hip thrust.

Single-Leg Isometric Glute Bridge With Leg Abduction And A Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Hold

The is one among my favorite glute workouts because it delivers an incredible bang on your buck. This train includes an isometric glute bridge, whereas concurrently abducting the other leg, and performing a bottoms-up kettlebell maintain. The isometric maintain strengthens the glutes, the leg abduction motion forces the physique to withstand rotation and targets the anterior core and obliques, and the bottoms-up kettlebell maintain develops shoulder stability.

Equipment Needed:

You will want a kettlebell.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Set your self up as you’d for a daily single-leg glute bridge. Make positive that your shin is comparatively vertical, or else your hamstrings will take over.
  2. Keep your hips elevated by squeezing your glutes.
  3. Pack your shoulder, and hold the kettlebell in keeping with your shoulder all the time.
  4. Tuck your rib cage in the direction of your pelvis and brace your core to stop your rib cage from flaring and stop hyperextension of your decrease again.
  5. Exhale as you actively tuck your rib cage in the direction of your pelvis, and transfer your free leg away from the midline of the physique, with out permitting your pelvis, backbone, or ribs to rotate. Inhale as you convey the leg again towards the midline. Reset earlier than beginning the subsequent rep.
  6. Focus on partaking each glutes even in case you’re bridging on just one leg to stop your physique from twisting and your pelvis from collapsing towards one aspect.
  7. As you turn out to be more adept, you possibly can improve the vary of the lateral leg motion, and use a heavier kettlebell.

Regressions:

You could make this train simpler by performing it with out the kettlebell till you achieve the required power and stability to include the kettlebell. You may also drop your hips right down to the ground between every rep, or shorten the vary of the leg abduction.

Progression:

Once you possibly can carry out this train correctly, you can also make it a bit tougher by changing the bottoms-up kettlebell maintain with a bottoms-up kettlebell press.

 

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References

  1. Soderman, Okay. et al. Balance board coaching: prevention of traumatic accidents of the decrease extremities in feminine soccer gamers? A potential randomized intervention research. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. eight(6):356-63. 2000.
  2. Cressey, E. et al. The results of ten weeks of lower-body unstable floor coaching on markers of athletic efficiency. J Strength Cond Res. 21(2):561-7. 2007.
  3. Lee, M and Carroll, T. Cross Education: Possible Mechanisms for the Contralateral Effects of Unilateral Resistance Training. Sports Med. 37(1): 1-4, 2007.
  4. Carroll, T, Herbert, R, Munn, J, Lee, M, and Gandevia, S. Contralateral results of unilateral power coaching: proof and potential mechanisms. J Appl Physiol 101: 1514-1522, 2006.
  5. Munn, J, Herbert, R and Gandevia, S. Contralateral results of unilateral resistance coaching: a meta-analysis. J Appl Physiol 96: 1861-1866, 2004.







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