Even though I described how to do the Dead Lift exercise in my initial blog and believe that it is the cornerstone to developing pure, whole-body strength, I also believe that you get more out of single leg exercises as compared with double leg exercises in general purposes programs.
I must state here that when most people go to the gym – even when they have personal trainers – they really don’t know exactly what they want out of the program. I spend a great deal of time on understanding what a client wants (and needs) when they come to see me on their initial visit. I don’t want them to be vague as that will produce vague results…so when we start their first actual workout, we have very specific ideas of what they want and need – and a defined way of getting there. I put these three sentences in here because most people who go to the gym aren’t doing the program they need to get the best results for them – hence, they also are not doing the exercises they need to do to achieve this.
So, single leg exercises are better to do for most people who go to a gym because they more closely relate to the natural movements of everyday life and in most sports. The picture I have used for this blog is of a Step Up/Leg Raise, which is a great example of the type of lower body exercise I use for my clients – and has a far more natural movement pattern – than a Squat for instance.
Secondly, single leg movements have a greater degree of balance in them as compared with double leg movements. Balance is an element of all sports that require any degree of movement. Thirdly, single leg movements require a greater degree of coordination than double leg movements. These two factors mean that you have to remain far more present – having to concentrate more closely on what you are doing – although you should ALWAYS focus on what you are doing to get most from your gym workouts!
So single leg movements are the best exercises to do in the gym for these three reasons, although I also give my clients double leg movements if required for their needs. Obviously, if you are competing in a sport that requires double leg movements, you would have those in your program – but for the majority of people who go to the gym, this is not a requirement.
Other exercises that are great examples of effective single leg movements are – Pistol Squat; Double Lunges; any Crawling movement and any Single Leg Squatting movement. Another advantage of doing single leg exercises that no one thinks about is that they require little or no equipment to perform – especially an exercise like the Pistol Squat, which takes many months to perfect for most people and certainly doesn’t need extra resistance other than body weight!