It’s true – if you want to be a better runner you should think about implementing cross training into your routine. Lots of us do strength training and core strengthening exercises by incorporating cycling or swimming … but do we train our legs separately?
Have you noticed that we don’t run with both legs at the same time? Yet when we train in the gym, we do mainly bilateral exercises. There are a few good reasons why you should implement single leg exercises into your training programme. The benefits are endless! Forcing your non-dominant leg to work as hard as your dominant leg; improving your balance; strengthening core muscles; reducing asymmetry of your lower limbs; speeding up the rehabilitation process after injury; reducing risk of ankle sprains – just to name a few! Are you convinced?
Continue practising (if you are doing so) traditional, bilateral exercises – back squats, deadlift, bench presses, etc. but try swapping around 30% into the unilateral version. You’ll notice how it challenges your posture (especially if performed barefoot) and how your right and left leg react differently to the same exercise.
Remember to progress sensibly, especially if you are a beginner in strength training. Start with your bodyweight, then add an extra weight of dumbbells or kettle bells. If you are switching from bilateral exercise to unilateral exercise, remember to reduce the load of the weights! You will lift much less squatting on one leg than two.
Enjoy your new leg workouts, be creative and train smart! Good luck!
These are exercises that we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.