October 14

6 Single Leg Exercises To Build Strength

By fitness

October 14, 2022

Strengthen your decrease physique AND core with these single leg workouts. This unilateral leg day exercise permits you to improve the load on every particular person leg – without having further weights or fancy health club gear. This exercise targets the hips, hamstrings, glutes, calves and quads in round half-hour.

This put up is delivered to you in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board.

It’s no secret that we’re massive followers of power coaching round right here. Our Drop Set Arms and Abs and Drop Set Leg Day exercises are targeted on heavy power coaching – and a few of your favourite exercises.

Unilateral train (or single-sided coaching) will increase the depth whereas retaining issues low impression.

Single leg work will increase the load on the working leg, making the train tougher with out including heavier weights. Additionally, single leg workouts require extra steadiness and stability which suggests your abs and core muscle tissues are always engaged.

That makes this exercise an efficient decrease physique power exercise AND sneaky core coaching.

This unilateral leg day exercise is all power coaching and naturally low impression. It is designed to construct muscle within the quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips, calves and core — all in round half-hour.

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three women standing in front of a bench performing a single leg exercise (a bulgarian split squat)

Single Leg Exercises FAQs

What Are Single Leg Exercises?

Single leg workouts (additionally referred to as unilateral leg workouts) are carried out by isolating one leg at a time. This is in distinction to bilateral workouts (corresponding to customary squats) that require each legs to work on the identical time.

Why Are Single Leg Exercises Beneficial?

Single leg workouts construct muscle within the working leg, isolate and proper muscle imbalances, and enhance steadiness and core stability. Unilateral coaching forces every leg to do the work with out permitting extra dominant leg muscle tissues to take over (like they will in bilateral coaching).

Build sturdy legs with this ALL STRENGTH unilateral leg exercise with dumbbells!

Unilateral leg workouts recruit extra muscle tissues (particularly core muscle tissues) than bilateral workouts. The abs and decrease again are extra engaged in single-leg workouts to assist the physique keep steadiness.

Add this decrease physique exercise to your dwelling exercise plan 1-2 instances per week to construct and keep power within the decrease physique.

Workout Equipment:

Medium Set of Dumbbells.

I like to recommend between 5-25 lbs relying in your health stage. We used 10, 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in in the present day’s exercise. Option to drop weights at any time and do that exercise with simply your body weight.

You’ll even have the chance so as to add a yoga block (or stack of books) and a step/bench when you select.

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I’m utilizing 15-20 lb dumbbells for this decrease physique power exercise.

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Workout Instructions:

Follow together with the guided Unilateral Leg Day on YouTube, led by licensed private coach, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 3 Circuits (2 single leg power workouts per circuit and 1 single leg burnout train)
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of labor, 15 seconds relaxation; full as many repetitions as you possibly can within the timed interval)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x4 Sets (x2 units back-to-back on the precise leg, then x2 units on the left leg).
  • Perform Burnout Move After Set 2 (Right Leg) and Set 4 (Left Leg)

6 Single Leg Exercises With Dumbbells for Strong Legs!

Workout Outline


  1. 80/20 Squat (Heel Elevated)
  2. Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge and Side Squat

Burnout: Front Foot Elevated Lunge Hold and Explosive Knee Drive


  1. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (Bulgarian Lunges)
  2. Rear Foot Elevated Single Leg Deadlift

Burnout: Uneven Suitcase Swing


  1. Lateral Lunge Knee Drive
  2. Single Leg Glute Bridge 

Burnout: Kneeling Hip Thrust + Adductor Kickout 

6 Single Leg Exercises

80/20 Squat (Heel Elevated)

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, and core.

three women performing a staggered 80/20 squat as part of unilateral leg day workout

How To Do A 80/20 Squat (Heel Elevated)

  1. Start standing, proper heel on a block (or stack of books), left heel on the bottom, hip-width aside. Hold a dumbbell in every hand and body your proper leg.
  2. Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips again (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90-degree bends at every knee.
  3. Exhale as you press by your heels to face tall, driving your hips ahead to return to standing.

Modification: Keep each heels on the bottom, 80% of the work in your “working leg”, utilizing your different toe as a kick stand. Hold one dumbbell at your chest in a goblet-hold or use simply your body weight.

Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge and Side Squat

Targets: The glutes (outer gluteus medius), quads (together with the VMO, the small teardrop-shaped muscle group that helps transfer the knee joint and stabilizes the kneecap) and core.

three women performing a single leg exercise (reverse lunge and step into squat)

How To Do A Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge and Side Squat

  1. Begin in impartial standing place, ft shoulder width aside, proper heel on a yoga block or stack of books. Hold a dumbbell in every hand at your sides.
  2. Step your left foot again right into a reverse lunge, reducing down so each knees kind 90-degree angles.
  3. Press by your entrance proper heel to drive ahead, returning to standing place.
  4. As you come to standing, step out together with your left foot, ft barely wider than hips. Right foot stays planted and dumbbells body proper leg as you decrease down right into a squat, pushing your hips again and down till your hips align together with your knees (knees bent at 90 levels).
  5. Then drive by your heels, squeezing your glutes as you stand tall. As you stand, step your left foot again, returning to a reverse lunge place.

Modification: Perform this transfer with each heels on the ground moderately than including a yoga block.

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (Bulgarian Lunges)

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings hips and core.

This single leg train will problem your steadiness and has been named among the best workouts to construct glute power.

3 women performing bulgarian lunges single leg exercises

How To Do A Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (Bulgarian Split Squat)

  1. Kneel in entrance of your bench or chair, then place your left foot behind you on a chair or bench, shoelaces down. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand.
  2. Step your proper foot ahead (it'll range for everybody, however somewhat over a foot in entrance of your bench). Your entrance thigh might be parallel to the ground. This is the underside of your motion.
  3. Drive by your entrance proper heel, squeezing your proper glute to return to standing. Feel your entrance glute interact to energy the motion.
  4. With management, bend your knee to decrease down again to the beginning place (again left knee ought to decrease down near the bottom), to make your entrance thigh parallel with the bottom. Shoulders stay stacked over hips all through the motion.

Modification: Perform a regular reverse lunge or break up squat, retaining your again foot on the bottom moderately than elevating it on a chair.

Rear Foot Elevated Single Leg Deadlift

Targets: Hamstrings, core and glutes.

three women performing a single leg deadlift with rear foot elevated

How To Do A Rear Foot Elevated Single Leg Deadlift

  1. Start standing in entrance of a bench or chair, holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Place your left foot behind you on the bench, shoelaces down.
  2. Keeping hips sq., press your glutes again in direction of the wall behind you, hinging on the hips and gliding the dumbbell down your entrance leg till you're feeling a stretch alongside the again of your proper leg. Range of movement might be totally different for everybody.
  3. Exhale as you press by your entrance heel and stand tall, returning to beginning place.

Modification: Perform a staggered deadlift from the bottom, retaining 80% of your weight in your entrance heel and 20% in your again toe.

Lateral Lunge Knee Drive

Targets: Gluteus medius (the outer a part of your butt used for side-to-side actions), quads, hamstrings, hip adductors and abductors, hip flexors, calves and core.

three women performing a lateral lunge with balance knee drive

How To Do A Lateral Lunge Knee Drive

  1. Stand together with your ft beneath hips, holding a dumbbell in your left hand.
  2. Step your proper leg out to the facet as you push your hips again, bending your proper knee whereas leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat together with your proper leg whereas your left leg stays straight. Knees and toes are pointing ahead.
  3. Then, drive off your proper foot to reverse the motion, exploding again as much as middle. Drive your proper knee up, forming a 90-degree angle. Balance in your left foot and maintain for a breath.
  4. Then repeat, stepping out together with your proper foot to carry out one other lateral lunge.

Modification: Drop the load, performing this transfer with simply your body weight. Tap your proper foot in moderately than steadiness.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips and pelvic ground.

three women lying on their backs performing single leg glute bridge as one of the best single leg exercises

How To Do A Single Leg Glute Bridge

  1. Start laying in your again, proper foot planted on a yoga block, left foot prolonged straight overhead (ankle stacked over knee).
  2. Press by your heels to carry your glutes off the mat, squeezing your glutes as you carry. Think about retaining your core engaged and knees consistent with your hips.
  3. Exhale, slowly reducing your hips to hover an inch above the mat.

Modification: Perform a staggered stance glute bridge by planting your left heel and stepping your proper foot out barely additional away out of your physique. Keep most of your weight in your left heel, proper toes popped off the bottom.

three women performing a lunge with a knee drive as part of unilateral leg workout

We have been so excited to have Dr. Taylor Spronk be part of us for in the present day’s exercise – she is a wealth of data and we discovered a lot from her! Dr. Taylor is a veterinarian (and a former MN Pork intern) who works with farmers each day.

Pulled Pork Recipe

We love pork round right here as a result of it’s the premise of so many simple and wholesome meals. Our family-favorite Smoked Pork Butt Recipe from The Real Food Dietitians (pictured above) has been on repeat currently! Stir frys, kebabs, tenderloin roasts and carnitas – pork pairs so effectively with many various taste profiles.

Pork can also be a superb supply of protein and gives a number of vital nutritional vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is a wonderful supply of: 

  • Protein: helps muscle progress.
  • Selenium: helps thyroid well being.
  • Vitamin B-6: helps temper and mind well being.
  • Zinc: helps tissue restore and upkeep of a wholesome immune system.
  • Beta-alanine: type of amino acid present in pork and a vital ingredient in muscle improvement.

SHOPPING TIP: Dr. Taylor recommends searching for pork tenderloin on the retailer – it's thought of “extra lean” and has the identical quantity of fats as skinless hen breast.

How to cook pork graphic

Tips for Cooking Pork:

One of my favourite issues about pork is how easy it's to cook dinner. The secret to retaining pork juicy and scrumptious is to keep away from overcooking it – somewhat pink within the center is okay! You can take all of the guesswork out by buying a meat thermometer, which makes it even simpler!

  1. Season Pork
  2. Cook to 145°
  3. Rest for 3 minutes

And then get pleasure from!

This is a sponsored put up in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board. All phrases and opinions are my very own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content material you see on this weblog potential.

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