Almost all fitness trainers ask their clients to focus on training their lower body. Undoubtedly, it has a significant role in the effort to shed body fat and get leaner. In addition, lower body exercises burn many calories by using a lot of muscle mass.
Most commonly used exercises in a leg routine include squats, leg presses, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. These exercises play a vital role in building a solid foundation of strength for your lower body.
Single leg exercises are also significant due to the benefits they provide. In this article, we are focusing on the three key benefits of single-leg exercises.
These exercises engage smaller muscles such as the abductors, quadratus lumborum, and gluteus medius. They cannot be trained similarly by working with both legs. These exercises are also advantageous for athletes, powerlifters, bodybuilders, and others. There are a variety of single-leg exercises that you can add to your routine and get benefits.
Semi-stable single-leg exercises include a lateral squat, Bulgarian split squat, and single-leg glute bridge. Some unstable single-leg exercises can be pistol squat, box step-up, and single-leg Romanian deadlift. Other sports-specific exercises include prowler sprint, single-leg hop, and sled drag.
Top 3 Benefits of Single Leg Exercises
Out of the several benefits of single-leg exercises; we are focusing on the following three key benefits.
- Improved Balance
As the leading cause of death among older adults, approximately 400,000 die yearly because of falling, according to WHO. Improving balance and stability in a single-leg stance is one of the primary ways to prevent falls.
Single leg exercises can be categorized into two types. The first is one leg and split stance. On the other hand, bilateral exercises take place with both feet side by side. Since you have a broad support base in this position, it is easier to maintain balance.
Unlike a bilateral exercise, your body is challenged to maintain proper coordination and balance to keep you from falling over. Due to this, single-leg exercises train you to enhance balance to a greater degree.
- Increased Safety
Adding more weight to the bar is one of the simplest ways to progress in the gym. But there is a higher risk of injury with more weight you lift if you perform the exercise incorrectly. On the other hand, you can achieve a similar training effect when you do single-leg exercises without lifting much weight. Thus, there is a lowered risk of injury with single leg exercises.
Let’s use an example. Suppose you can back squat 250 pounds for 5 reps. For this, the bar needs to be positioned on your back, which will compress your spine. Over time, this could possibly result in a low back injury if you keep adding weight and use poor technique.
When you perform a split squat, you may hold a pair of 50 pound dumbbells and complete 5 reps on each side. Thus you can work the quads without taking much weight on your back and adding pressure to your spine.
- Improved Stability of Core
Unlike bilateral exercises, single-leg exercises work our body in different planes. Single leg exercises improve our core function by training our bodies in multiple planes. When working with a single leg, you must stabilize against forces in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. It creates a more significant challenge for your core musculature since it is like multitasking.
While multitasking, we try to complete more things simultaneously, which is more complex than working solely on one thing. The same happens with our core. You can enhance the ability of your abdominal muscles to stabilize by training in this manner. Thus with single leg exercises, you can become more injury-resistant and pain-free. The list of exercises mentioned above isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good start.
With these key benefits, we would suggest you include single-leg exercises in your leg workout routine. If you are interested in more information regarding fitness and exercises, you can get certified by the American Sports & Fitness Association.