3 key benefits of single leg training
1 – Great for structural balance of the lower body
2 – Helps develop and maintain mobility and stability
3 – Reduces your risk of injury
Cards on the table, I am a big fan of single leg work. Why?
Two words- Balance and stability
Single leg training is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some that say it's the only safe way to train and others class taking the stairs as their single leg training. Whatever way you look at it single leg training just isn't sexy. I mean no one has ever asked what I can reverse lunge but single leg movements are a vital part of your training arsenal if your goals are long-term strength development and movement quality. Single leg training is a great way to maintain balance through the lower body and insure you against the potential risk of injury and is a must for pretty much everyone.
Due to the smaller base of support, single leg training requires you to use your smaller stabilisers and core muscles a lot more and the stronger these guys get the more you can use your larger prime movers. This leads to the ability to lift more weight when it comes to squats, deadlifts whilst also reducing your risk of injury dramatically which lets face it, is what we are all after.
Single leg doesn’t mean easy
They are not for the faint hearted though, there is a reason nobody likes single leg work and avoid it like the plague, they are tough….very tough. Exercises such as lunges, split squats and walking lunges will place a large emphasis on both mobility and activation of the glutes, quads and core musculature and due to the dynamic nature and (usually) higher rep ranges they can prove very metabolic meaning they are great for fat loss.
Build better posture and mobility
When performed correctly, single leg work will help build good posture and core strength whilst cementing quality movement patterns that will carry over to every day life. I have also found them to be ideal for people who currently lack the mobility to achieve optimal squat depth as it will help develop mobility of the hips and ankles meaning that when the time comes to put the bar on your back and squat you wont be placing yourself in harms way and increasing your risk of injury.
As far as I'm concerned single leg work should be a staple of everyone’s training program. Creating both mobility and stability through the lower body is essential for training longevity, overall strength and injury prevention.