Improve Performance With Single-Leg Exercises

2 May

Bulgarian split squat (up)


Bulgarian split squat (down)

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we know it’s important to incorporate single-leg exercises into an athlete’s training regimen.  We alternate, weekly, between bilateral and unilateral exercises, to improve strength, power, mobility, and balance/stability.

A new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that all athletes might need to do more single-leg exercises.  In the study, researchers discovered that both jumpers’ (e.g., basketball, volleyball) and nonjumpers’ legs were not equally strong.  The natural tendency is for athletes to shift their weight, to some degree, to their dominant leg.  According to the study, that contributes to a strength imbalance that can hurt performance and lead to injuries.

Try different single-leg exercises, like lunges (stationary or walking; forward, backward, or lateral).

At APTC, we favor the single-leg squat, single-leg press, step-up, and Bulgarian split squat (rear foot elevated).  Perform 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions with a weight that is challenging but reasonable.

As you might imagine, the same principle applies to upper-body strength training.


Your thoughts?

4 Responses to “Improve Performance With Single-Leg Exercises”

  1. cailinceol at 12:34 PM #

    I do alot of single leg work as one of my legs is significantly weaker. It’s so so important!

    • Brian Lebo at 1:46 PM #

      Agreed… me and you both (and every one of my clients)! Thanks for the feedback and take care!

      • cailinceol at 1:54 PM #

        No worries, I’ll be watching out for your posts now 🙂


  1. Get Functionally Fit in 2015 | Athletic Performance Training Center -

    […] one leg, or one side of the body — as an alternative to traditional bilateral exercises.  Single-leg exercise versions of the squat, Romanian deadlift, and Bulgarian split squat work the entire lower body […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: