Single-Leg Training Benefits & Three Exercises You Can Do at Home

Single-Leg Training Benefits & Three Exercises You Can Do at Home

Single-leg training has many benefits. As a personal trainer, I prescribe to many of my clients single-leg training exercises.
What is single-leg training? Well, it's training one leg at a time. I' m a certified personal trainer.

There are multitudes of fun ways to employ single-leg training. Training shouldn't be only about the squat, deadlift and leg press. There are those who can work gargantuan loads with these foundational movements, yet would flounder at, for instance, single-leg box squats. Looking for leg press machines? Visit here

Single-Leg Training Benefits
Though some single-leg training movements won't produce bulging quads, they provide other benefits that any serious physique athlete or fitness enthusiast should not sweep under the rug. Here are those benefits:
  • Muscle building and sculpting. Some single-leg exercises do promote hypertrophy and shaping.
  • Improved joint stability
  • Lower injury rate with more traditional moves
  • Less stress on the spine
  • More compatible with trainees who have "bad levers"
  • Can serve as replacement exercises while a trainee heals from an injury
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Enhanced sports performance
  • Make excellent exercises for supersets or burnout sets
  • Fierce calorie burn (depending on exercise)
  • Can be fun
Single-leg training has a significant carryover to everyday living. For example, suppose your buddy's car stalls and it needs to be pushed out of traffic. You get behind the vehicle with a few other people and begin pushing. Your legs are acting unilaterally.

Suppose you must drag an unconscious person away from a car that might burst into flames. Your legs will move single-style. Same with climbing a steep hill full of boulders. Though these are more extreme and fun examples, think about it for a moment: Single-leg work happens all the time in everyday life.

You need not do a lot of single-leg training to get results. Just two or three exercises per session will produce the benefits described prior. However, don't let that stop you from devoting a full session to just single-leg training.

Split squat
This has variations: barbell across back, Smith machine, dumbbells at sides, rear foot elevated on bench or stool.
Place one foot forward, one behind, and create some width between the feet. Simply lower, as in a lunge, keeping back upright. This is the base movement. Now add resistance as just described.

Leg press (floor apparatus)
Use one leg, but don't bring the knee directly down into the chest; this style reduces range of motion by letting the chest get in the way.

Instead, as the knee lowers, veer it outward so that it passes the chest and arrives at the armpit. Foot placement on the sled can be in the center or slightly off-center.

One-leg straight-leg deadlift
Anyone who's been into the fitness scene for a while can do these, but many novices will struggle with just bodyweight.
Stand with feet close together. Lift a foot and lean forward, reaching the opposite hand to the floor as though picking something up.

The non-support leg is behind you and somewhat extended. The support leg is fairly straight (soft bend in knee). Return to start position. One rep is easy (we do this all the time in everyday living when picking something off the floor).

However, do this for eight reps with the following conditions:
  1. a dumbbell or kettlebell is in the hand and never touches the floor as you go down,
  2. the support leg remains planted on the floor throughout,
  3. the moving foot never touches the floor, and
  4. returning to the start position after every rep means standing straight before doing the next rep.

Beginners will lose balance, even with bodyweight only. To make this more doable for beginners, the moving foot can lightly make contact with the floor at the end of each repetition.

The free hand can be anywhere but holding onto something. Add a few single-leg training exercises to your overall fitness regimen for some added benefits.


Private comment