TRAINING THE SINGLE LEG
The traditional thought in athletic performance has been to perform bilateral lower body movements, which just means training both legs at the same time. Examples include traditional squats and deadlifts. While we continue to do this for a large percentage of our training time, there are many sport-specific movements that use a single leg. For instance, when we sprint, jump, cut, and shuffle, we are typically spending time on a single leg to perform these movements. That being said, our training should reflect this.
The ability to control your body and a single leg at a time is extremely important. The inability to control your body on a single limb (such as when jumping, landing, or cutting) can lead to numerous injuries. The injury can be anything from a sprained ankle to a torn ligament in the knee. Training to spend time on one leg is extremely important as it helps build the strength, coordination, control, and confidence you need to perform your sport more safely and effectively.
A great exercise to start the process of building strength and stability in a single leg position is the Single Leg Snap Down. This will help you find the proper single leg landing position and begin to build strength in that position. Once you have mastered the Single Leg Snap Down, you can then perform the Single Leg Vertical Jump. This will add another component to the snap down. Another very important single leg exercise is the single leg squat. Being that it is a dynamic movement, it will help you understand and control your body in different positions.
Being able to move on one leg is extremely important to the overall success of you as an athlete. When we only train both legs at the same time, one of our legs begins to become stronger than the other. This leg will take over when we struggle, resulting in an increased strength deficit in the weaker leg. This deficit can lead to injuries. When training our legs individually we begin to eliminate the deficit that our body has and create a stronger, more athletic body.
This guest blog is provided by the athletic performance experts from the Ohio State University Medical Center and Bo Jackson Elite Sports Performance Hilliard.