The one leg squat is a great bodyweight leg exercise that is also great fun to practice. It is not the most difficult skill to master, but once obtained the one leg squat can be varied and can offer advanced progression to all fitness levels. As much a test of balance, coordination and flexibility as leg strength it is a skill that transfers over well to many sports and activities in everyday life. We highly recommend this exercise to be included in most fitness programs.
Balance is one important component of the squat that is needed as a foundation to stand on one leg and perform the squat. Test your balance by lifting one leg out in front of you and see how well you can maintain the position, if this is not a problem, skip this part and move on to the next phase. If on the other hand you find yourself swaying this way and that, then improving your balance is the first thing to do. You can improve your balance and can modify your squat a few different ways. Using balance poles or a chair behind you can aid in performing the one leg squat, as you continue to work on your balance. Keeping your arms pointing straight out in front of you will also help maintain your balance by keeping your weight over the pushing leg- if you find you are unstable crossing the arms over the chest.
Start by sitting down on the bench with both legs and standing up on one. Once you’ve got that down, engage your core, lower yourself down to the bench on one leg and use both legs to stand back up. From there, try to do the entire motion on one leg. Do not bounce off the bench. At first, it may help to pause on the bench, but try to work towards making it one continuous motion. When you can control the eccentric and come back up without the knee caving in, it’s time to move on.
The next step is to increase the range of motion. The best way to do this is to stand on a step so that the non-working leg can drop below the foot of the working leg. Work down gradually until you reach a depth where the femur is at least parallel to the floor.
Another way to perform the one-leg squat is to use the TRX and perform a “Pistol” by using your own body weight, aided by a suspension training system. The TRX one leg Squat develops core stability, anti-rotational strength and coordination in a single exercise.
Start at the end range of motion, standing on one leg, with your hips extended and your core braced. Lock your shoulders down and back. Your bodyweight should be equally distributed between your leg and arms as you lower yourself down in one smooth controlled motion. When you reach the bottom of the exercise, pause for a moment to reengage your core and pull yourself up, again with equal effort from your arms and leg. Extend the pause at the bottom for a longer isometric contraction before you come up to further challenge this exercise.
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