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Single Leg Energy – Outdated College Gymnasium


Single Leg Energy: the leg day resolution for lifters with decrease again points

Most likely the commonest drawback I see within the health club is decrease again ache.  From occasional minor aches to power ache this is a matter that results an enormous variety of lifters, athletes, and on a regular basis individuals.  Not solely is the ache itself a problem, however one of many greatest draw backs of decrease again points is that it causes a lot of you to both skip or slack on leg day.

“I can’t squat, it hurts my again”…I’ve heard this so many occasions, and I’m not simply pointing fingers.  I personally have 3 bulging discs from an harm over 15 years in the past. I’ve a foul again and for years I let it restrict what I might do on leg day.  There’s solely a lot machine work (leg press, extensions, leg curls, and so on.) I might do with out becoming bored, and I by no means felt like they constructed the identical purposeful energy as squat actions.  Though I can deadlift with out challenge, for years I had hassle with the place, and to this present day any kind of barbell squat – entrance or again – tends to fireside up the muscle groups round my low again and depart me limping for a couple of days.  Sure, my loyal Muscle & Energy household, imagine it or not, I as soon as somebody who copped out on leg day or prevented doing an excessive amount of heavy weight out of concern of throwing my again out. What lastly saved me from a lifetime of curling within the squat rack was switching my deal with leg day from bilateral to unilateral actions.

Now earlier than I get into the distinction between bilateral and unilateral workout routines, let’s first focus on what’s on the root of the issue for myself and plenty of lifters on the market.  Having grown up boxing and wrestling, my physique adjusted to standing in a staggered stance with one foot in entrance of the opposite. In nearly another sport you progress with a pure gait – one foot in entrance of the opposite.  As a boxer you at all times stand, transfer and battle with the identical foot in entrance of the opposite regardless of which path you’re going. To additional complicate stuff you constantly twist and rotate your hips to the identical facet as you throw punches.  So the place am I going with this, and what does it should do with again ache? Nicely all of that exercise spent in a staggered stance can result in some energy imbalances as your hips get used to rotating in a single path. Then when an athlete – sometimes a boxer or wrestler – hundreds their backbone in a sq. stance, the hips could torque in a single path if they’ve a energy imbalance, resulting in low again ache and harm.

In my case it’s a relationship with my psoas on the left (entrance) and my QL on my proper facet decrease again that provides me issues.  Because the Energy Coach for the Ohio Regional Coaching Heart for Olympic wrestling I see related issues in a lot of my athletes, from their a long time spent competing on the mat in a break up stance.  The answer is to cease loading the backbone and deal with unilateral leg workout routines.

The time period bilateral is used when referring to an train the place either side of the physique are loaded evenly, equivalent to a barbell again squat, deadlift or bench press.  All sides of the physique is symmetrical in place and in weight distribution. Unilateral workout routines, equivalent to break up squats or pistol squats, confer with when just one facet of the physique is doing the “work”.  Unilateral workout routines permit the legs to work independently of each other and since most are performed with dumbbells, you may actually tax every leg with out loading the backbone. Is that this the reply for everybody who experiences decrease again ache whereas squatting?  In fact not. However I’ve discovered these workout routines to be helpful and tolerable for a lot of lifters with again points, significantly wrestlers and fighters who practice in a staggered stance.

One other (and separate) challenge includes poor heat up.  I’m responsible of this myself infrequently, however for this exercise we’re going to deal with getting good and heat and in addition activating our glutes, hamstrings, and adductors.  Should you spend loads of time sitting at a desk or using in your automotive, there’s a superb likelihood that one thing in your posterior chain is shut off or not firing correctly. Use this heat up routine to get all the pieces “on-line” and able to go earlier than the heavy lifting begins.


  1. Bike 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic Stretch: strolling stretch, Lunge Twist, Cross Bend
  3. Activation:

kneeling hamstring holds 3 x 10 seconds

glute bridge 3 x 5 seconds

adductor isometric holds  3 x max effort squeeze

  1. Lunge 3 minutes

Start by biking for five minutes or till your legs are heat.  Subsequent up, carry out three 10 second kneeling hamstring holds. Kneel down dealing with a wall along with your arms out for steadiness.  Level your toes and curl your toes up in the direction of your glutes, squeezing the hamstrings as exhausting as doable for 10 seconds.  Subsequent, lay in your again in a sit up place along with your legs bent and toes on the ground. Push via your heels, squeezing the glutes and bringing them off the ground barely.  Don’t arch all the way in which up so your decrease again tightens, the purpose is simply to activate the glutes. After finishing 3 bridges, keep in the identical place and place a foam curler or towel between your knees.  Squeeze your knees collectively as exhausting as you may to activate your adductors. Now that your legs needs to be firing on all cylinders, end the nice and cozy up with 3 minutes of strolling lunges.


  1. Break up Squats

10 every leg (no weight)

5/5, 4/4, 3/3, 2/2

  1. DB Lunge – 8/8, 5/5, 3/3

  1. Superset: 4 units

DB Step Ups – 5 every leg

Pistol Squats – 5 every leg 5/5/5 tempo (5 seconds down, 5 seconds on the backside, 5 seconds up)

  1. Superset: 3 units

Single Leg Glute Bridge – 5 every leg, 3 second pause on the prime

Single leg hamstring bridge – 5 every leg, 3 second pause on the prime

  1. Accomplice Hamstring Iso-Curls – 3 x 8

  1. Stability alternates – 50 complete both sides

Start with 5 units of Bulgarian Break up Squats, with the primary set performed unweighted to get the motion sample in place.  Transfer up in weight on every subsequent set. Comply with the break up squats up with 3 units of strolling lunges holding heavy dumbbells.  Ensure that on the units of 5 and three to deal with every lunge as a single – test your step for stability within the center reasonably than stepping via.  

Up subsequent is a superset of Dumbbell step ups and pistol squats.  On the Pistols make the most of a 5/5/5 tempo – the rep begins with a 5 second eccentric or detrimental emphasis as you decrease down.  Pause for a 5 second isometric contraction on the backside of the rep earlier than taking a full 5 seconds on the concentric (or means up) portion  of the motion. Subsequent up is a superset of single leg glute and hamstring bridges, earlier than ending up with Hammy Tourture aka Accomplice Hamstring Iso-curls.  Finish the exercise with my favourite train for cross physique core energy, Stability Alternates.


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