Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You Should Be Doing This Exercise: Single Leg Squat

There are many variations of the squat exercise. There is no doubt that the squat should be a part of your regular exercise program. But, you don't have to "max out" on the squat exercise for it to be effective.

1) Stand with your feet hip width apart with knees slightly bent and toes pointing forward.

2) Start position: Lift one foot off ground and extend leg forward. Extend arms forward at hip level.

3) Lower your body by bending at the hips and knees. Be sure to “sit back” so that your knees stay over the feet. Keep your head and back straight in a neutral position (hyperextension or flexion may cause injury).

Keep your weight over the middle of the foot and heel, not the toes. Keep your abdominals tight throughout the exercise by bracing your torso.

4) Once your thigh is slightly above parallel to the floor, return to the start position. That is one repetition.

The single leg squat is one of the best exercises out there (and tougher to do than you think). It builds strength (including core strength) and stabilizes the legs and hips. It will also improve your balance.

It is important to perform the exercise correctly. Single leg squats will also help improve your speed because it works the same muscles involved in running (quads, hamstrings, glutes, abductors/adductors). Single leg exercises forces each leg to develop at the same rate (one leg can't compensate for the other).

Challenge yourself with this exercise!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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