5 Hacks to Solving Problems With Single-Leg Exercises

January 23, 2014

Single-leg exercises can be difficult for young athletes who lack stability and strength. But they're important because they increase muscle mass in the right areas.

Here are five hacks to get athletes moving the right way when doing Split Squats, Reverse Lunges and even Bulgarian Split Squats.

1. Activate the front core muscles

Proper form is crucial to performing these exercises correctly. After the position is in place, make sure that you activate your anterior core. If not, you may present in a gross lumbar extension pattern—or your core may not fire reflexively to help you push weight.

The idea behind many lower-body strength exercises is to develop power in the legs by putting force into the ground and translating that force through the midsection. This helps with force development for games—especially useful for football, baseball, and hockey players.

2. Slow down the movement

When introducing these exercises, it may be good to intentionally slow them down. That way, you learn how the movements work with proper alignment and your muscles firing correctly.

Also, by introducing the eccentric portion of the lift, you contribute to the hypertrophy of your lower half—an awesome bonus to those looking to gain both strength and size.

Another variation is the Slideboard Reverse Lunge. This is useful because you have constant contact with the floor or board. Also, by taking out the sudden impact of the foot seen in a traditional Reverse Lunge, you can control the speed on the way up and down as well.

3. Prevent knees from shifting

One thing often heard when discussing squatting or lunging is to keep the knees from moving over the toes. While strength coaches should worry about the position of the knee during this exercise, sometimes it is best to make exercises easy in a systematic way. The most self-limiting way to perform this movement is to incorporate a bench and block your knee from traveling forward as you perform a reverse or static Lunge.

That way, if your knee travels forward, no harm done—it's blocked by the bench, and the only other way to move is backward.

4. Use a band to prevent knee valgus

One of the most difficult variations involves using a resistance band to pull the knee of the front leg further inward. The idea is not to make them perform the exercise with such a provocative motion, but rather to bring awareness to the faulty movement pattern.

5. Increase frequency by adding more "practice" during static movements

If you simply need more practice with an exercise, you could add half-kneeling variations to encourage more of a single-leg stance position—even with a program that is heavy in volume with a single-leg stance.

Combine any or all of these tips to address a lack of single-leg stability. Do a Slideboard Reverse Lunge with an anterior knee block. Or perform a Goblet Reverse Lunge with a medial band pull to activate both the front core and glutes.

Read more:

Topics: LOWER BODY
Miguel Aragoncillo
- Miguel Aragoncillo, CSCS, graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. He then completed internships at Cressey Performance, an elite sports training facility...
Miguel Aragoncillo
- Miguel Aragoncillo, CSCS, graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. He then completed internships at Cressey Performance, an elite sports training facility...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 153,019
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,502
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,270,518
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,626,320
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,170,372
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,683
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,256
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,395

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

Strength Isn’t Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Strength Isn't Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Brakes for More Speed

Building Brakes for More Speed

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

YardBarker