Single leg exercises are an important part of your lower body workout routine. They build stability in the hips, knees and ankles to a much greater extent than their dual leg counter parts.
They also have less spinal loading than squats or deadlifts, so they are much easier to recover from. This means you can work harder without tiring yourself out. Here’s some of the top single leg exercises:
Lunges – Lunges are the best total lower body exercise. They work the hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Simply lunge forward into a split stance, bend both knees until the back knee touches the ground, then push through the front heel to stand. Stride through so your back leg becomes the front leg for the next rep.
Split squats – The split squat is similar to a lunge, without the movement. Simply stand in a split stance with one foot in front and one behind. Then squat straight down and up. This is a simpler exercise that you can load up with a heavier weight for a greater training effect.
Step ups – Find a step or box that is knee height or higher, place one foot on top of it, and stand with your other foot on the ground at the side of it. Push through the heel of the top leg to stand up straight, with the other leg in the air. Squeeze your butt muscles and abs to stabilise at the top, and control your bottom leg back to the ground. Hold dumbbells to make it more difficult.
Single leg deadlift – Stand on one leg with a dumbbell in each hand. Extend the free leg backwards as you hinge at the hips, pushing the butt back. Your upper body should come down towards the floor, while your back is straight and hips move backwards. Keep it slow and controlled, focusing on stability, and not twisting on the standing leg.