The lower body is the foundation of your whole body. The stronger, more toned and mobile the better our bodies can physiologically grow, increase strength overall and adapt.
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Typically, the most common leg exercises are squats, leg press, leg extensions and leg curls. Regarding these exercises they are usually performed bilaterally or with both legs.
There is a whole new world of exercises you are missing in your lower body day. This article is taking you on a journey through some of the best single leg exercises to achieve your fitness goals.
As we explored the best single leg exercises, keep in mind some are quite advanced. Be sure to practice the exercise with no added resistance. Master the movement, then add weight. Asymmetry is the name of the game with best single leg exercises. You are going to have one leg stronger, more mobile and stable. The key focus is to have both legs achieve a strength, stability and mobility balance.
One final gem – your ankle mobility and stability will be tested and has to improve.
Set up a sturdy box or bench behind you. The height of the box or bench should be the relative height of the distance between knee and ankle. Stand facing away from the box and two and half to three feet from the box. Next, take one foot and extend it behind you so that it is resting the box.
Prior to starting, your leg that is elevated, the knee should be behind its hip and the foot that is down; body should be resting between the arch and the heel. Keeping the glute or buttock squeezed, this will help keep you upright, bend both knees and start to descend toward the floor.
Your bodyweight should be on the leg that is down and through the heel of your foot. When your hip is at parallel to the floor, then extend at the knees to bring your body back to an upright position.
Single Leg Squat:
Perhaps one of the toughest and most challenging exercises in any fitness routine. The Bulgarian and the Single leg squat will challenge your balance, stability and hip and ankle mobility.
Keep one leg off the ground and extended in front of you, keep your bodyweight through the arch and heel of the foot that is down. Place both arms out in front of you to provide assisted balance and counterbalance for the hips. Flexing at the ankle, knee and hip of the leg that is down start the descent into the rep.
Stop the descent when your hip is parallel to the floor. Once your hip is at parallel, exhale and extend your ankle, knee and hip to bring your body upright.Single Leg Deadlift:
This is a terrific posterior chain exercise. This will strengthen your hamstrings, glute and improve ankle and hip mobility. Standing tall with one foot removed from the floor, the leg that is down, the knee is slightly flexed. Keep your abdomen flexed and engaged flex at the hip maintaining your posture in your trunk and knee.
Continue to flex at the hip until your trunk reaches close to parallel to the floor. While exhaling, extend at the hip to bring your body back to an upright posture.
Box Step up with a knee raise:
A great exercise to improve balance, strengthen the glutes and quads and improves ankle and hip mobility. Standing in front of a box that is 18-24 inches tall. Place one foot on top of the box so that the ankle, knee and hip of the same side are flexed. Driving through the same foot, extend your body upward.
As your body extends upward, the flex the hip and knee of the opposite leg bringing it parallel to the box. Pause for one second at the top and then proceed to bring the opposite leg back to the ground slowly.
Standing tall, take one leg and extend it behind your body at the hip while flexing the knee and ankle. Once the back foot makes a point of contact, flex both knees and ankles and front leg hip and the back hip extends bringing your body towards the grounds.
Stop the repetition when your thigh of the front leg is parallel to the floor. While breathing out, start the extension or your knees to bring your body upright. As your knees start to straighten, bring the back leg forward so it is in the same plane as the front foot.
These are the best single leg exercises you can add to enhance your lower body routine.
Definitely master the movement prior to adding any additional resistance. Remember a house is only as strong and sturdy as its foundation. Train, strengthen and improve mobility and stability of your legs to improve the rest of your body.
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