Beneficial Unilateral Lower Body Exercises
Some lifters ignore single leg exercises because they just have not taken the time. There are many benefits of single-leg exercise. You can get levels of joint torque and activation of the muscles, which are similar to what can be achieved with double leg exercises without putting extra load on the spine.
Unilateral lower body exercises can contribute immensely to the arsenal of a lifter. If you are not good at single leg training, any benefits in strength and competency will be transferred to bilateral training. However, there are many beneficial exercises to choose from where single leg movements are the reigning supreme. Here are some of the best, which you can adopt during your training schedule.
Dumbbell Deficit Bulgarian Split Squat
This is an exercise that complements the movement for the squat, giving you additional benefits by increasing single leg stability and flexibility during the entire range of motion.
You should initially create a 2 1/4 in the deficit with the use of boards, mats or aerobic steps.
Line up in front of the bench and consider placing a balance pad or any type of padding to protect the knee.
Hold a pad of dumbbells by your sides. Stand on top of the platform, reach back and position the top of your foot on the bench. The major portion of your weight should be on the front foot. The rear foot must only be supporting 20% of your weight.
Keep your torso upright and descend under control until your knee comes into contact with the pad.
At this stage push through the heel of your front foot back to the starting position. Keep your head in a neutral position along with your pelvis and the spine throughout the entire range.
Do not allow the knee to drift too far ahead of the toes or shift sites. If you are prone to knee pain, sit back and maintain a vertical shin during the movement.
Front Loaded Forward Lunge
This is as well a necessary movement for the squat with added benefits in the form of increasing single leg stability and strength. The position of the arms increases the contribution made by the upper back and the anterior core. Taking a step forward will increase the stress on the knees but will decrease it on the hips.
You should begin the front loaded forward lunge with the bar in a squat rack that is set at around shoulder height.
If you are significantly flexible, you should use an Olympic style front track clean grip position. However, you can also use a cross arms position which is favored by most bodybuilders. Maintain your head in a neutral position along with the spine throughout the lift.
After unracking the bar and taking a step back, step forward with one leg into a lunge by keeping your foot in line with your hip. Do not try to have your feet in a straight line. Rather, maintain your normal width during the stance.
Keep your torso upright or use a slight forward lean descend under control until your knee comes into contact with the ground.
From this position, you should be driving through the midfoot of the front foot and return to the starting position. Do not allow the knee to drift far ahead in front of the toes or shift sides.
If you suffer from knee aches, sit back and maintain a vertical shin during the movement.
These are a couple of beneficial unilateral lower body exercises which we feel will be beneficial for you. You may never have tried these exercises, but we are certain you will be satisfied with the results.
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