Archive for the ‘Athletics’ Category

I love single-leg training. ¬†Actually, I take that back. I friggin’ hate single-leg training.

Reason being is simply because I’m not very good at it.

(Yes¬†‚ÄĒ I’m not very good at it.)

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t appreciate the benefits of¬†incorporating some lower body uni-lateral work here and there. ¬†I know ‚ÄĒ the Squat and Deadlift are dubbed the king of exercises and they look so much sexier than single-leg training, so why bother?

Well…

For starters, it can offer a change of pace in your training.  Sure the big compound movements are the meat and potatoes, but make no mistake, you can gain a ton of strength by dedicating some time with single-leg drills.

Secondly, because I said so.

Thirdly, you can achieve similar muscle activation without the shear forces you get from conventional squatting and deadlifting.¬†You can virtually load up as much weight as you can,¬†but with less¬†spinal¬†loading¬†‚ÄĒ max recruitment with minimal risk. Furthermore, you work your deep core musculature to a larger extent.

JointTendonMeme

Photo Credit: thePTDC.com

And lastly, sports (and daily activities for that matter) are primarily played on one leg, not two. Which lends itself to the fact that single-leg work should be a part of any strength and conditioning program.

With that in mind, there are a lot single-leg variations you can choose from, so here’s my top three.

1. Assisted Single-Leg RDL

**It was a toss up between Landmine Single-Leg RDL’s or Assisted Single-Leg RDL’s.¬†

Probably one of the most advanced exercises anybody will ever come across is the single-leg RDL. Learning how to properly hinge at the hips is a difficult movement to coach in and of itself, so you can imagine the difficulty of learning how to hinge on one leg.

The vast majority struggle with this exercise because the limiting factor is going to be balance, which is why when most people try to execute it they look like they’re driving under the influence. In addition to the balancing aspect, most beginners tend to round their lower backs and let the weight drift too far forward, which¬†makes it hard¬†to get a decent training effect.

Approaching it with this variation allows you to still reap the benefits of the exercise while limiting the chances of you looking like a drunk driver.

EugeniaGiselleRDL

 

Key Points:

  • Place supporting hand on foam roller or stable object.
  • Pack your neck for a neutral spine.
  • Focus on keeping your weight centered.
  • Slide your hips back to ensure proper hinge motion.
  • Squeeze hands to increase irradiation.
  • Keep toes pointed forward and keep majority of the weight on your heel.
  • Keep the weight close to your body (your lower back will thank you).

2. Barbell Reverse Lunges w/ Clean Grip

I would be one of the first to tell you that I dislike forward lunges. ¬†It’s not inherently a bad exercise, but you can definitely get more juice with less squeeze. Know what I mean?

One of my favorite exercises, the Barbell Reverse Lunges with a clean grip offers so many benefits when it is done appropriately.  Achieving proper depth while staying relatively upright is a problem for most lifters. In addition to building single leg stability and hip strength, you can definitely garner some postural benefits from this movement because it encourages thoracic extension and anterior core engagement.
Using the clean grip reinforces you to engage your upper back and anterior core to prevent from falling over.

Moreover, stepping back doesn’t put as much undue stress in the knees as it does with forward lunges.

Key Points:

  • Think “chest and elbows high” to keep the bar from falling forward.
  • Don’t step too far back.
  • Keep toes pointed forward and most of the weight on your mid-foot.
  • Maintain normal hip width stance. ¬†You’re not on a balance beam.
  • Too much of an upright torso¬†is unwarranted.¬†A slight forward lean is okay.

3. Deficit Bulgarian Split Squats

Any time I write this in my training log before hitting the gym, I curl up into a little ball and start to cry. ¬†They’re that hard. Bulgarian Split Squats or Rear-foot Elevated Split Squats from a deficit hurt like hell. The larger range of motion you have to go through increases glute activation.

 

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Key Points:

  • Squeeze and press your arms towards the dumbbells to create irradiation.
  • Don’t pick a bench that’s too high. ¬†It can aggravate your hip flexors.
  • Create a deficit by using a box or step boards. ¬†Be careful not to create too much of a deficit.
  • Keep toes pointed forward and drive off the mid-foot.
  • Slight forward torso lean is okay.

 

There you have it. Keep in mind that these are just three variations. There¬†are more variations you can choose from. The take home message here is, if you’re not up to par with single-leg training, start doing them now.

If you’ve found this article to be informative and applicable, please share and/or comment below.

Continually getting stronger should always be a priority. Strength is the foundation ‚ÄĒ there’s no denying that.

In fact, it’s fairly simple. Utilize compound movements, lift heavy, fuel up, and mitigate stress. Yet so many people¬†still struggle to make progress. ¬†They’re a hamster in a wheel. They’re going nowhere.

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In my latest article for¬†STACK, I bring up four reasons why you’re not getting stronger.

¬†Continue reading…

Did what you just read make you better? Join my newsletter by clicking here because… you absolutely should.

Become An Insider

When I started as an entry-level personal trainer, my only¬†goal was to help as much people as I can and continually improve as a coach. ¬†I had no intentions of stepping on anyone’s toes and was never remotely interested in crowning myself as “top trainer”.

Fast forward almost three years later.

The first three months of 2016 have been nothing short of spectacular. ¬†I’m running my own fitness business, working on my own terms, and networking with some of the top minds of the fitness industry.¬†#Winning

On top of that, my clients are kicking ass.¬†I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

 

With that being said, there are a few things¬†I’m looking forward to in the upcoming¬†months:

1) Captain America: Civil War

I’m going crazy just thinking about it. I’m literally going to bring my Captain America shield with me.

2) I’m going to be an uncle!

He’s going to be deadlifting and squatting.

3) Vacation in the Philippines

It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve stepped foot in the Philippines, and I’m pretty stoked about it.

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On that note, here are some great reads I recommend for the month of March.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Probably one of the most influential books I’ve ever read and I’m only halfway done.mindest

Should You Even Bother With Cardio? 

K. Aleisha Fetters chimes in on whether or not you should incorporate cardio if you’re seeking to improve your overall health.

7 Truths About Strength Training

I’ve been reading Jim Wendler’s stuff since I started to do anything related to strength and conditioning. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or an advanced lifter, this is definitely an article¬†I recommend reading.

Total Core Training For Lifters

Excellent article by¬†Eric Bach. Simple isn’t always sexy, but it gets the job done.

4 Things We Did Before Worrying About Brand Development

Now this is a good read for people in the fitness industry. What really resonated with me in this post:

“Solidify Your Training Model”

How To Prevent Burning Out As A Fitness Professional

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that Tony Gentilcore has been instrumental to my development as a coach. He hits the nail on the coffin with this one.