For Better Balance, Try Twice-a-Week Leg Workouts

STACK Expert Jesse Irizarry explains the importance of twice-a-week lower-body training and provides two workouts to prevent muscles imbalances.

Balance

It's time to part ways with once-a-week leg workouts. Although performing 20 different leg exercises in one session might seem productive, doing all your lower-body training at once and nothing the rest of the week can lead to imbalances and increase your chance of injury. Knee-dominant lifts build greater strength in the anterior or front of the leg than the posterior or backside. You want to develop both areas equally.

Training your lower body twice a week is a better bet, as long as you plan the sessions in moderation so you don't overtrain. Rotate between movements with hip emphasis and knee- or quad-dominant emphasis to achieve balance and increase volume without burnout.

A knee- or quad-dominant movement primarily emphasizes the anterior leg musculature and involves more knee bend. Examples include Front Squats, Narrow Stance Back Squats, Lunges, Split Squats and Step-Ups, to name a few.

A hip-dominant movement involves a more active bend at the hips and less from the knees. Examples include Deadlifts, Hip Thrusters and Glute-Ham Raises.

You can divide your twice-weekly training days into hip-dominant and knee-dominant days.

RELATED: Leg Workouts That Actually Work

Workouts

Bilateral hip-dominant lifts with single-leg knee emphasis

Start with a bilateral (both legs on the ground) compound lift. This is a conventional Deadlift or Hip-Thruster with the focus on strength development. Repetitions should not exceed five for multiple sets.

Next, do single-leg, knee-dominant exercises to ensure balance and increase muscle size in the anterior leg musculature. Since this is a secondary emphasis, and the focus is building muscle and preventing injury through creating balance, the repetition ranges can be higher, such as 8-10.

Bilateral knee-dominant lifts with single-leg hip emphasis 

Begin with a knee-dominant lift, such as a Front Squat, in that same strength repetition range. Follow with single-leg hip emphasis exercises such as Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts holding dumbbells. Do these in the higher rep range to ensure balance and muscle gain in the posterior.

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Topics: BUILD MUSCLE | STABILITY AND BALANCE | EXERCISE | DRILL | DUMBBELLS | INJURY | LIFTS | BURNOUT | STANCE | RAISES | LEG EXERCISES | BAREFOOT