Single Leg Split Squats + Lunge questions.

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pdellorto
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Single Leg Split Squats + Lunge questions.

Post by pdellorto » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:00 am

Today I did a lot of unilateral leg work. Specifically, I did Dumbbell Lunges and Dumbell Single Leg Split Squats.

Lunges

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Glu ... Lunge.html

The lunges were tough but I managed them. But I found when I lunged forward, my back foot would turn close to 30-40 degrees outwards. I couldn't keep it straight forward. Is that bad? The animated gifs on EXRX show a straight back foot. I can keep my foot straight on unweighted lunges but it's not terribly comfortable...it takes concentration to keep the foot from turning. Is that foot turn okay, or should I back down the weight until I can keep the back foot pointed straight forward?

I also did these in sets of 5, and did all of one leg before switching...seemed like the best way to get a hard workout on that one leg. Is it better to switch between reps?

Single Leg Split Squats

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Glu ... Squat.html

The single leg split squats were nice, I found they were pretty hard even on a lighter weight than the lunges. Is it acceptable to push off the bench with the back foot? Even with just my toes on the bench, I still ended up pushing off. I tried a few reps with no weight, holding on to the bench rack for support to pull myself up, but still, the back leg just fires and I push. The front leg does most of the work but I feel the front of my calf strain on the "off" leg. Is that bad form, and if so what's a good way to correct it?


As you can see, I'm trying to take the suggestion to do more unilateral leg work very seriously. Next time, Step-ups...when my coach isn't around to object to me standing on his bench. :D

Peter


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Post by KPj » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:58 am

Hi Peter - Lunges (or any single leg stuff) always look quite easy, but they're a killer! As much as I love the results I have got from them, admittedly, they are one of the few exercises I dread.
he lunges were tough but I managed them. But I found when I lunged forward, my back foot would turn close to 30-40 degrees outwards. I couldn't keep it straight forward. Is that bad?
This is an 'over compensation pattern'. Most likely related to tight calves, but it could be from your knees and/or hips as well. If it is calves, the best thing you can do is get that tennis ball in there and stretch them aswell. The more I think about your sport the more I think your calves must take a pounding, so it makes sense really. I need to come back to you on this to be honest... I can't remember exactly what's going on here, but it's not the end of the world. You probably have externally rotated feetwhen standing in your natural posture? Which is also a compensation pattern, technically a postural 'defect', but very common. 9 months ago my feet were very externally rotated, now, a lot of my issues have been fixed and i feel great. The external rotation is still there, although not as bad.

My advice would be not to hold back because of this, remember it's really the front leg you are training anyway. I remember being at a cressey seminar and he got someone up to do a dynamic stretch for your external rotators, for which you get into a split stance. The girl had the same thing you describe in the back foot and he pointed it out, but kind of shrugged it off... Case in point, i wouldn't worry about it just now. If our doing the single leg stuff as well as soft tissue work and stretches then you might find this will iron itself out anyway.
also did these in sets of 5, and did all of one leg before switching...seemed like the best way to get a hard workout on that one leg. Is it better to switch between reps?
I do one leg at a time. I've saw it recommended this way as well but I just find it far too horrible doing 2 legs at a time.
Is it acceptable to push off the bench with the back foot?
There's always going to be a little help from the back foot, you just need to be strict with it. Although, as fatigue kicks in, it's very hard to be strict with it.

Just keep at it, and you'l 'get the groove' for it. The single leg stuff is very hard going. It definitely helps to switch exercises quite frequently.

My favorites are probably Reverse Lunges and 'walking lunges', and pistols, but only because I can do them easily now. Walking lunges are a killer. I use dumbbells mostly with the single leg stuff, because you get a little rotator cuff workout in there at the same time (by holding DB's) but I also use the bar with both a normal grip and a front squat grip. There loads of variations to choose from.

If you find any to be uncomfortable and just not feel right, just try some others and see what feels best. Step ups are normally OK for most people. They're actually a good progression to a lunge for people who can't lunge, but at the same time, step ups are not just a beginner exercise...

Enjoy!

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:49 pm

Thanks.

Yeah, my feet slightly externally rotate when I stand. I'm trying to correct that too.

I'll work on the split squats more. I don't feel too bad about the push off, because although I'm not isolating the working leg as well I am still doing all the work. The front of my shins are really sore today, so it's not like I didn't get something out of it.

I'll add step-ups. I really need to find a place to do them on. When my coach is there, I can't use the bench for them. He doesn't like the idea of me doing step up on the bench. But when he's not around I'll do them and work on my pistols.

I've done a few walking lunges. Actually, if you like lunges, Mike Rutherford has an article on them that is up for free on the crossfit page.
http://www.crossfit.com/journal/2007/06 ... e_rut.html

By the way, I think it's against board etiquette to use "enjoy" and "lunges" in the same post. :)

Peter

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Post by VoK » Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:39 am

Pistols are a beast of an exercise. I personally like them more than nearly any other leg movement. The core strength/balance component of it is icing on the cake. I can wax poetic all day on pistols. I just wish everyone would do them...
It's also one of the few exercises where holding a weight in front of you makes it easier. Try it, it's weird.

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Post by recmatt » Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:21 am

Excuse my ignorance here, but how is a pistol performed?


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Post by VoK » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:39 am

recmatt wrote:Excuse my ignorance here, but how is a pistol performed?
http://www.powerathletesmag.com/pages/pistols.htm

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:53 am

Besides VoK's great link, you can check Beastskills:

http://www.beastskills.com/Pistol.htm

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Post by recmatt » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:12 pm

Thanks guys, I saw a video of it for the first time only a few weeks ago but didn't know the name of the movement. Great links and a great exercise, especially for martial arts.

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Post by pdellorto » Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:42 pm

Yeah, the pistol aka one-legged squat. It's a good exercise, too bad I can't do it yet.

I know adding weight to one legged squats makes them easier, but I don't know if I've got the side-to-side balance and the flexibility yet. I tried some pistols in a pool on a step, that worked really well with the buoyancy of the water to keep me up. I was able to do a few of them. But the non-working leg just kept straying too far down, I think I need the flexibility before they are really possible.

But I'm mixing in the unilateral stuff now. Did the Lunges/Single Leg Split Squats on Monday. Thursday I did Walking Lunges for a warmup, and then did Step-Ups supersetted with dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts and then finished with 3 sets of 50 steps walking lunges and some hamstring raises. I figure I can do at least one unilateral leg exercise set per week, maybe a little more frequently, to balance out the bilateral stuff I do (deadlifts, air squats, thrusters).

Peter

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Post by recmatt » Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:00 am

I can't do them either yet but I'll work on it. By the way Peter, are your walking lunges weighted?

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:07 am

Why don't you rest the heel of your non-working leg on a bench?

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Post by stuward » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:11 am

Another way to transition to pistols is to hold onto something, a wall, bench, rope, whatever, at first to give assistance and second to aid in balance. I can't do them unaided to full depth yet but everybody needs something to shoot at, right?

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Post by TimD » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:40 am

Matt Z wrote:Why don't you rest the heel of your non-working leg on a bench?
Matt, that kind of defeats th purpose of the pistol. As popularized by the KB types over at DragonDoor, half the battle with the pistol is the balance issue, then holding the weight out in front of you. Me, at my age, ain't gonna happen anytime soon. I'm going to stick with what you described, either putting the non working leg on a bench in front or back, weight either on shoulders or hanging straight down, and probably steadying up by grbbing something close in with my freehand.
Tim

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:04 pm

True, you don't get the balance benefits using a bench, but you can practice the basic movement. Then you can transition to unsupported pistols later if that's the intension.

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:10 pm

PS.) Has anyone here tried pistols with a weight (BB,DB,KB) held arms length overhead. I would imagine these would be even more difficult, not only because of the added load, but because it would make it even more difficult to maintain ballance.

By the way, I tried Overhead Lunges once and they were surprisingly easy, although admitedly I wasn't using much weight.


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