Tuesday, May 14
1. Mobilize hips, glutes, shoulders.
2. Warmup with 3 supersets of 10 (per leg) loaded (barbell or KB) Bulgarian Split Squats and 10 loaded Hip Thrusts.
3. Squat to a 1 rep max.
4. Drop about 20 to 30% off the bar and squat up to a heavy three ("heavy three" means the heaviest weight you can do without missing) - go up by no more than 5 to 10 lb. at a time.
Exercises You Should Be Doing: Bulgarian Split Squats
Ask any coach who’s been in the game for a while whether or not he or she feels single leg training is kind of important, they’ll inevitably give you “the look” as if to say, is the Pope catholic? Does a bear shit in the woods? Does David Hasselhoff like alcohol?
You get the idea.
At the expense of preaching to the choir – as I know a vast majority of people who continually read this site are uber intelligent, not to mention painfully good looking – single leg training serves a plethora of benefits. Including but not limited to:
- Helps ascertain whether or not there’s an imbalance between one leg or the other.
- Helps improve athletic (and life) performance – there aren’t many sports we play or things we do in everyday life that don’t require us to stand, run, leap, walk, jump, etc on one leg.
- Helps improve hip stability and overall lumbo-pelvic-hip function. Single leg training targets what’s known as the lateral sub-system (glute medius & adductor complex on one leg, and the quadratus lumborum on the opposite leg).
- Makes people of the opposite sex want to hang out with you.
- Helps improve single-leg strength, which in turn, almost always translates to increased strength in the bigger, more popular lifts like squats and deadlifts.
- Helps reduce axial loading and gives the spine a bit of a break from the grind of constantly lifting heavy stuff.
- Furthermore, single leg training helps to fix or alleviate many of the issues that cause chronic knee, lower back, and hip pain (which reverts back to the whole lateral sub-system thing noted above).
Honestly, the list could go on and on, and like I said, I don’t want to seem like I’m preaching to the choir.
Key Coaching Cues: I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. A few things, however:
1. Try to keep the knee of the standing leg in line with your second toe as you perform the exercise. Many trainees tend to allow their knee to cave in during split squat variations (or any squat variation for that matter), and it’s important that you don’t allow this to happen.
2. From a comfort standpoint – some may find it more prudent to place a half foam roller or maybe even a rolled up towel on top of the bench so that their foot stays in place or so they don’t crush their toes.
3. From a mental cue standpoint, try to think to yourself, “chest up,” “chin tucked,” and to sit back and drive THROUGH THE HEEL!!!!!
In other words: don’t lean forward, stay as upright as possible, and try to prevent your weight from shifting into your forefoot while performing your reps. The brunt of your weight should be in your heel.
4. Also, try to squeeze the glute of the trailing leg throughout.