They have to, don’t they? I mean if they didn’t suck we would see them be FAR more important in people’s workouts and we would see way MORE of them IN people’s workouts. Yea, I am talking about single leg exercises. If they were as great as people talk about then WHY are they not more of a cornerstone to many people’s workouts? Why don’t we see people going on social media to humble brag about their latest single leg squat or deadlift accomplishments? There is really a simple reason we don’t see the priority of single leg exercises……..
It is because they suck, and by that I don’t mean the exercises themselves, but the way we use them!
That’s right, the way we progress people to single leg training is just bad, oh so very bad. I should know because I was guilty of it for a long time!
You hear about single leg training being great for lower leg strength, core stability, multi-planar training work, and developing the true functionality of the hips and glutes. You get all excited to go use them in your or your clients’ workouts and then it hits you. They are too hard! That leads you to going back to the exercises you already feel good about, you feel are doable, after all, who wants to do what they stink at?!!
It is our fault, I mean the fitness industry’s fault. If we think something, like single leg training, is important then we need to make the very best progressions to get people to perform them successfully. That is why DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is not really dedicated to any one exercise, but how do we make small changes to get to the next level of a movement.
When it comes to single leg exercises I think we have a pretty phenomenal system in getting people to the right level for their fitness and strength. Let’s look at how we put the pieces together and why the series below makes so much sense and is being used by fitness and sports performances top coaches!
Why are we so bad in creating better single leg progressions? Mostly because we typically see people as single leg or on two legs, nothing in between. That is a QUANTUM leap in changes of stability and doesn’t give people (except the already really strong) an ability to appreciate single leg exercises. So what can we do to create betters solutions?
Build From the Ground Up
Ironically, most people start on the ground with their training, but typically don’t have synergy with what they are learning from being on the ground to what they do standing. The whole point of being on the ground is to remove some of the challenges that gravity in standing creates and learn proper movement. The goal should never be to build massive strength on the ground, but instead foundational strength and correct coordination of the muscles. Whatever you do on the ground should mirror what you do standing and vice versa.
Get the Lats and Core Involved
This little “trick” is just connecting the body to its natural chains to build a better foundation of movement. I’ve talked about it SO many times, but I feel people still miss it. By creating core and lat tension, your hips tend to move better. That is because these areas of your body work together. So, what strength coach, Joel Guntermann, is showing in the bottom left is using the lats and core to create stability as he starts to teach his hips to move more single leg and not only produce strength, but resist force!
Work in Different Planes of Motion
In the top right corner, you will see that DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Master, Larisa Lotz, is introducing some unilateral components by focusing on more frontal plane movement. Doing so is a great introduction to people because they have a wide base to work from. While they are working on one side more, they aren’t so unstable that they lose the quality of the movement. Also, building that lateral strength will help when we go more true single leg.
When You Are Most Unstable Create A LOT of Tension
Two things we really need to teach people when they are completely single leg. One, GRAB the ground as hard as you can with your foot. Even if you are in a shoe, you want your foot actively grabbing the ground. This causes a chain reaction up the entire body to help create a more stable platform.
The second is to REALLY use those lats and core. We already talked about this, but a way to amplify this connection is to use our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Front Loaded position. Being in this position FORCES you to light up your lats and core. It becomes one of the best examples of trying to maintain the natural connections of the body when moving.
You can hopefully see that single leg exercise ARE accessible to you! In fact, they NEED to be part of your program as they often really expose muscle imbalances, inability to create integrated movements, lack of stability, and our overall mobility. Yea, they are REALLY important. However, if they are important, BUT not accessible to you, you will never reap their benefits.
Make sure to try these DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training concepts and see how much smarter and better your fitness becomes!
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