Single leg training is a funny topic in the field of strength & conditioning. If I can make very broad generalizations based on my experiences, I would say that most bodybuilders tend to be okay with certain single leg exercises such as lunges, single leg leg presses, and standing single leg curls, but they aren’t well-versed with many other excellent single leg options such as single leg RDLs, Bulgarian split squats, or single leg hip thrusts. Most powerlifters tend to prefer bilateral movements, even with their assistance movements, so they tend to shun single leg training. Most strength coaches tend to love single leg movements due to the decreased spinal loading. Most physical therapists love single leg training because of the functional transfer. And finally, most female lifters love single leg training because they hit the glutes well.
Here’s the deal. At The Glute Lab, we have 3 primary workers (Andrew Vigotsky is a full-time student at ASU, which leaves yours truly, Andrew Serrano, and Joey Percia), a garage gym, a force plate, EMG, and video capture.
Therefore, we’re going to conduct mini-experiments from time to time for the purpose of gathering pilot data. Any good researcher knows that three subjects is rarely sufficient to achieve statistical significance. However, we’re not going to conduct statistical analyses with these – we’re simply going to conduct and write up some thought-provoking experiments with the hope that it provides food for thought and possibly provokes researchers to conduct proper studies along these same lines.
“Hi Bret! I’ve got a question for you. You seem to write about single leg training quite often. What’s the very best single leg exercise out there? Thank you, Adam
First of all, the answer to this question depends on your goal and fitness levels. I’m sure you’re aware that there are many excellent single leg exercises and variations. But the various patterns are likely synergistic with one another in that you’ll get better bang for your buck by employing a few different single leg exercises rather than just one. Therefore, I wouldn’t try to narrow it down to just one. And don’t worry, with experimentation, nearly all lifters can find several unilateral exercises that suit their bodies very well.
Yesterday I was surfing around on YouTube and couldn’t believe how many great training videos of bodybuilders were online. Pro bodybuilders tend to have a particular way in which they train. You’ll see a lot of specialized techniques. For example, you’ll see partials focusing on the bottom ROM to keep constant tension, you’ll see heavy partials at the top ROM for overload, you’ll see squeezing with lighter weights, and you’ll see cheat reps. Each bodybuilder seems to have his own style when it comes to training. I’m a big fan of watching all the different types of athletes train, especially bodybuilders, powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, and strongmen.