Single Leg Exercises to Build Elite Athleticism
Most athletes are taught how to train their legs bilaterally from an early age. The most common leg exercise taught in high school weight rooms is the back squat. While this is a phenomenal exercise, neglecting single leg exercises could be the missing link in unlocking elite athleticism. Below are 3 single leg exercises that can help build your athleticism!
#1 Front Foot Elevated Split Squats
Everyone is familiar with rear front elevated split squats, but have never tried front foot elevated. This exercise will increase the range of motion for the hip and place an emphasis on the VMO. By increasing the range of motion for the hip, you are able to strengthen the hip in weaker/more susceptible positions to help decrease injury chances. Strengthening the VMO will play a crucial role in protecting the knee from injuries and helping to rehabilitate an injured knee. To perform, start in a split squat position with the front foot elevated on a small plate or foam pad. You can increase difficulty by adding weight or raising the front foot higher.
#2 Single Leg RDL
RDL’s are one of the most popular hamstring building exercises, but the single leg variation should be a staple in any athlete training program. The single leg RDL increases the range of motion you’re able to train the hamstring and strengthen the muscle in otherwise un-trained positions. Single leg RDL’s also help to increase stability and motor patterns while strengthening the leg and building explosiveness. To scale the exercise, you can increase the weight or use a kettlebell in your off-hand to increase the stability aspect of the exercise.
#3 Single Leg Reverse Lunge
Lunging may be one of the most popular unilateral leg exercises athletes use, but have you ever tried them in reverse? By changing the direction of the lunge, you shift the focus to target the hamstrings and glutes. This is one of the most simple and effective exercises for athletes to help train the backside of their legs and build explosiveness. This variation is also great for athletes who have experienced a knee injury or knee pain as it will remove some of the pressure placed on the knee when lunging forward. This can be progressed by adding weight and changing the distance traveled while lunging.
If you’re looking for an edge in your training, try throwing in these unilateral leg exercises and take your athleticism to the next level!