May 7, 2018
I get it, squatting all the weight feels cool, looks cool and gives you bragging rights to your fellow gym rats. It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to load that barbell with all the weight, push through what feels like stand-still speed and hit PRs (personal records). I’ve done it and still on occasion will do it, but if that’s all you’re doing for your squats, you’re missing a HUGE aspect of training. Let me explain.
In my opinion, unilateral (single leg) squats are exponentially more important than bilateral (two legs) in most training programs. The exception comes in for power lifters, olympic lifters and competitive CrossFit athletes, BUT all of these athletes need to incorporate single leg work on a regular basis as well. I promise when you do, you will see your numbers go up and injury go down!
I recommend single leg work in every training session to some capacity. It may be working on the mobility and stability problems you discover in your warmup and cooldown. It may in the form of your main strength component or an auxiliary exercise. Until all the kinks are ironed out (mobility and stability) don’t load with heavy weight. I’d recommend at first to stick to 3 sets of 8-12 on each leg and as your execution improves, then you can play around with smaller reps and heavier weight to build that apple bottom booty!
Below are some of my favorite single leg squat and single leg squat(ish) exercises.
Bulgarian Split Squat (this is BY FAR my favorite single leg squat and oh man will your cheeks be sore if done correctly)
Step Up (my second favorite way to do single leg “squats”, steps ups are applicable to everyday life for most everyone… i.e.: climbing up stairs)
Single Leg Squat to a Box (this is demonstrated to a high box, ultimately you want to maintain solid position and lower to a box below parallel)
Single Leg Squat off Box (this is bit more advanced and a good tool to start working toward pistols if that is a goal of yours)
Sign up to my newsletter to receive health and wellness knowledge bombs, real-life adventure tactics and be a part of the tribe.