Single-leg and Balance

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Single-leg and Balance

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:17 pm

For which single-leg exercises do y'all have the LEAST issue with balance?

I'm finding that balance is the biggest limiting factor as I'm trying to increase the loading on these. So far, step-ups are the most stable for me. I'm currently using those, split squats, and single-leg SLDLs. I also find that a BB makes balance easier than DBs. Kind of like a tight-rope walker's balance pole, I guess.

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Post by Immortal » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:21 pm

I used to have problems with balance when starting stuff like this. The first thing I did was get my balance base up. I basically did 3 exercises that really helped my balance get better and in fact it made my ankles a whole lot stronger.

Number 1- Stand on one leg,barefoot, for 1 minutes then switch. Repeat 5 times

Do bodyweight one leg squats while keeping the hand opposite the leg doing the workout on something then start doing it without the hand. 3 sets of 10 reps

Then I did hardest one and I hopped on one foot for 1 minute at a time.

Thats just some stuff I did to really boost my balance, also I dont have ankle problems anymore. and my calves and shins are tougher now. Its also a light workout so ur really not working at that high of an intensity therefore you should be able to do this 3 times a week as a side thing to ur main workouts. o and when ur hopping barefoot, make sure to stay on your toes to keep your calves and muscles near them contracted

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Post by jml » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:24 pm

step-ups are easiest for me.

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Post by Nevage » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:29 am

Split squats are easiest for me, tried it with my back leg off the floor and could barely do body weight!

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Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:23 am

split squats. Defin not lunges

I could use some of Immortal's ideas there.

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Post by caangelxox » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:28 am

there are progressions for single leg work..

I have it written down (in order)...I have done research and am listing these in order from easy to hardest

balance on one leg working on ankle stability/knee stability/glute medius activation & hip correction (making sure hips are level)
isometric lunges
step downs
step ups
static lunges
reverse lunges
dynamic lunges
Bulgarian squat
single leg squat

you also want to include the single leg RDL in there somewhere, which I dont know where...I guess when your balance gets good and your hamstrings become flexible. another single leg exercise is called king deadlift if you have heard that one before. its with 1 leg performed like a deadlift.

planks, side planks, core exercises...also have progressions too. there are so many websites with so many exercises. none of them have the exact progressions..but by common sense and knowing how hard an exercise is, you can easily make your own progression list.

I know when I get my degree in kinesiology and start personal training..I will be using all the progressions to get my clients strong that they are weak at to prevent injury. its always good to start with the easiest making sure you use proper form and then working your way up to the hardest.

I would love to one day be able to do handstand pushups.

If you can do a one legged squat, you have strong ankles, strong knees, and strong glutes. Make sure you can hold your balance first with level hips and feet centered without wobbling before moving on. you want to be as stable as possible to not fall over when you go into the static lunge or any of the progressions. your glute medius & core helps keep you from falling over.

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Post by KPj » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:36 am

I have least issue with step ups and most forms of lunges... Most issue with any single leg movements with the other leg unsupported i.e. single leg DL's. However i've been pluggin away at the single leg stuff for a good few years now so tend to not really have a huge issue with any of them. If you can get to the point where you can do single leg squats/pistols and have no real issues with single leg DL's, you'll find most lunge variations to be quite easy and balance will never be a limiting factor with them.

When doing heavy single leg stuff I most often use front squat grip reverse lunges (sometimes off a step for more depth), and Bulgarians (with a BB).

I'm quite strict about the normal static lunge/split squat. I won't progress people beyond that until they're doing it perfectly. Mike Robertson has great info on this. Most people butcher lunges and basically turn into all ankles and lower back. So my first priority is to coach them out of this movement pattern.

First thing I do is widen the base of support by moving the feet out wider as this makes it easier to stand in position and balance. From there I work on getting them moving properly. I put most focus on staying upright - I tell people to imagine a big door right infront of their face, so if they move forward they'll get a sore face, and keeping most of the weight on the heel (squeezing the glute of the back leg helps fight against APT, too). When they get that perfect, I bring the feet/base of support in, and do the same. Only after that will I move them on to more challenging movements. I make them master this B/W only before adding any load. I've found that the more strict I am with this, the less problems I have when I move people on to reverse lunges, Bulgarians, Single leg DL's, etc.

Also - use the warm up to help with his. Lets say i have someone who can't lunge so I only have them do squats and step ups. I'll actually work on the lunge during the warm up. When it looks good, it get's added to the resistance training part. From there, i'll introduce single leg unsupported stuff to the warm up. When they master them, they get added to the main workout. So i'm never spending valuable time that could otherwise be used up with just "lifting heavy stuff" - when they get a more challenging movement, they've already got it mastered with b/w via a dynamic warm up.


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