By David Drinks
We took a brief rest last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so hopefully, you enjoyed your turkey and didn’t miss us too much! We’re back this week, though, with week 7 of our series on Hip Strength & Stability.
Now in week 7, we are going to really start to push you with some challenging single-leg strength exercises!
As I mentioned in my post from week 6, whenever you move from a two-leg exercise to either a split-stance or a single leg stance, you are inherently creating more challenge for the hip muscles.
Taking away the extra stability from a two-leg stance means that you must use a lot more of the lateral and rotational hip muscles to control against unwanted movement at the leg.
A less stable set up = a much more challenging hip stability exercise.
Challenging your hip stability in this way is a quality of training that really becomes important when you’re talking about training functional control of the legs.
You can certainly get stronger from doing bilateral stance exercises, like squats and deadlifts. As long as you continue adding weight to the bar, you’ll continue to get stronger.
In fact, bilateral stance exercises are definitely the best way to build pure strength in the lower body.
However, when it comes to training functional control of the lower body for sports activities, running, or even just walking and climbing stairs, single-leg exercises become hugely important.
Well, if you think about it, we don’t do too much in regular life or sports (other than get up and down out of a chair) solely in a bilateral stance. Rather, we are almost always transitioning from one leg to the other, whether that’s in a walking gait, running, or climbing.
If you can’t control your body well when you’re on one leg, then you aren’t going to perform well in any of those activities. Plus, you’re at a higher risk of injury if you don’t have good stability and control in a single-leg stance.
So, for that reason, single leg exercises like the ones I’ll show you today are crucial to add to a functional strength training program.
You definitely should build overall strength with heavier bilateral stance exercises like squats and deadlifts, but you also need to be sure to challenge yourself in a single leg stance if you want to make it more functional.
However, you also need to make sure that you are ready for these single-leg exercises and that you’re able to do them with enough control. If you aren’t able to do the single leg exercises that I’ll show you today with any semblance of control, or if you find your knee wobbling side to side as you attempt to do them, then it’s probably idea to back off and build up to it.
In this case, you can spend more time building up strength by performing bilateral stance exercises with proper technique. Then, you can build up to split-stance exercises, like the split squat I highlighted last week.
From there, you can progress to some more challenging single-leg exercises with confidence.
However, if you jump into single-leg training too fast, you have the potential to do more harm than good.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some great options for working on your single-leg strength and stability, and I’ll show you how to start with a more basic exercise and progress to a more challenging single-leg exercise.
That way, when you’re ready, you’ll have a good progression to go through to work your way up to pristine single-leg strength and stability!
Check it this week’s video here:
These are definitely some of the more challenging lower body exercises that you can do. Not only do they require a lot of strength, but they also require control.
For that reason, it’s best not to overdo these. When you first start into single leg tap downs and single-leg squats, it’s best to work on a few sets of 5-8 reps max.
If you try to overdo the number of reps in a set, chances are that you’re going to fatigue and lose control of the leg. In that case, you’re no longer training hip stability, you’re just trying to get through a certain amount of reps.
Instead of pushing to get a lot of reps, focus on shorter sets with better control. Once you develop good strength and control, you can begin to add more sets and even some resistance to the exercise in the form of weights or a weight vest.
However, keeping the reps per set to 8 or less is almost always a good idea, so you can focus on control and stability throughout each set.
So, give these single-leg strength and stability exercises a shot when you’re ready for them! If you need some guidance or want to make sure you’re doing them correctly, feel free to reach out to us at The Med Gym, and we’ll get you on the right track.
Want to learn more about training your body to Move Better, Feel Better, and Live Better? Our exercise programs at the Med Gym are custom made to get you exactly what you need. Whether you come into the gym or work with us via Med Gym Online, we can help you get on the right track with your movement and fitness. Contact us here to talk about how we can help you develop an exercise routine that improves your hip strength & stability and so much more!