Friday, May 23, 2008

Build Lower Body Strength, Power And Balance--One Leg At A Time

Sometimes, too much focus is placed on leg exercises done with two legs. These two-legged exercises, like squats, are needed in your exercise program. But, one of the best physical indicators of athletic success is dynamic balance (rate-of-force production or power is the other).

Having dynamic balance means that the athlete is able to maintain her or his center of gravity over a constantly changing base of support. The athlete cannot have dynamic balance without muscular balance.

To achieve muscular balance in the athlete's lower body, one-legged exercises should be a big part of the athletic training program. These one-legged exercises can be performed as strengh or power (full speed) exercises.

One lower body exercise that should be in your program is one-legged step ups. This exercise is done one leg at a time to force each leg to work evenly. For example, you would do 10 repetitions with your right leg and then 10 repetitions with your left leg.

The hanging leg should not touch the bench and you should lower your body under control. This exercise can also be done without dumbbells if the weight is too heavy.

Other one-legged exercises would be one-legged squats and lunges. Add more one-legged exercises to your training regimen.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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