Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is just around the corner (check out this amazing gift guide if you’re looking for the perfect gift your fitness fanatic friend/brother/sister/hubby etc.)! So it’s time for our favorite series, Workout of the Month! We’re heading back to our lower body and I thought it was only appropriate to do one more workout outside before it gets too cold. So bundle up, grab your water, some dumbbells (if you want), and a chair, and let’s get to it!
Single Leg Lower Body
Here we are again, back at our lower body! We learned last time (August WOM), that the lower body has some of our largest muscles, and therefore we burn more calories when we incorporate our legs. We also learned about the hip hinge and how that is a crucial starting point not only for our squat, but several other exercises as well.
This month, we’re going to focus completely on single leg exercises. Often times we are imbalanced – one side is stronger than the other. Usually, it’s our dominant side. Because I’m left handed, I recognize that my left arm and my left leg are stronger than my right. I can also notice this difference when I’m doing any type of balance work. It’s very common for us to have a more dominant side, but it can become a problem if we start to overcompensate. When one leg becomes much stronger than the other, it takes on too much of the work.
Single leg exercises are important in strengthening each leg individually, in forcing each leg to do the entire lifting by itself. Another key aspect, is BALANCE. This adds in a whole new layer that you don’t find when working bilaterally (with both legs). In order to do a single leg squat, or deadlift, you have to stabilize your entire body. Your legs are activated and your core too. Although you aren’t able to lift the same amount of weight, single leg adds in that extra difficulty because of balance. With all of this (and plenty more, but I won’t bore you), single leg work is very important to include in your workouts!
So let’s get to it – your November Workout of the Month with all single leg, lower body exercises!
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Bulgarian split squat – Start with your right foot behind you resting on a chair or bench. Using the bulk of your left leg, lower down into a lunge and push back up into the starting position.
Single leg dead lift – Keep all your weight on your right foot and bend your knee slightly. With a flat back, bend forward and raise your left leg behind you. Lower down until your hand reach your shins or you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Lift back up.
Step Up – Start with both feet on the ground facing your chair or bench. Using your right leg, step up onto the bench. Do not let your left leg touch the bench (unless necessary for balance) and drive your left knee into the air. Lower your left leg straight to the ground, without touching the bench first. Then bring your right leg back down.
Single leg Glute Bridge – Lie on the ground with your feet by your butt. Raise your left leg straight up in the air. Using your right leg, push up until your hips are level. Slowly lower back down, keeping your left leg up the entire time.
Chair Squat (or piston squat if you’re able) – Stand in front of your chair or bench. Lift your left leg up off the ground. Slowly lower into the chair using only your right leg. Keeping your left leg lifted, stand back up.
Inner Thigh Leg Lift – Lie on the ground on your left side. Bring your right leg over to place your foot on the ground in front of your hips (or wherever is comfortable!). Use your arms however you need to in order to stay balanced. Lift your left leg off the ground a few inches. Then slowly lower back down.
Fire Hydrant – Start in table top position. Keeping your knee bent, raise your left leg out to the side as high as you can go. Slowly return back to table top.
Curtsy Lunge – Start with your feet shoulder width apart. With your right leg step backwards into a lunge to the outside of your left leg. Push back up to standing position.
Like this workout? Then you’ll enjoy these one’s too!
What’s your favorite single leg movement?
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