Yet another day browsing you tube and I was reminded of how much I like the single leg squat. Recently (for those that haven’t worked it out yet I am a professional volleyball player) I have had a lot of knee pain. The single leg squat is a staple in my program as I aim to rebuild strength. Single leg or arm work is always a little more difficult, and very necessary in programs. You ensure that you maintain balance in your body, and you will find, especially if you have not done much of it before…that you find some muscles you didn’t even know needed working.
The single leg squat is great as it get right into your quads and glutes. Ultimately there are a heap of variations you can use. I’ll put a video up of a standard pistol single leg squat, with the leg out front. You will notice that it takes a lot of balance as well, which is another great component and training element you get out of it. You can get yourself up on a table or chair and go as deep as possible. You can do it slowly, or explosively…add weight or just do your body weight. There are a lot of possibilities and at the end of the day this is an exercise that most people need to do.
It is also great for checking the stability level and balance of a person. Often when someone performs the single leg squat, if they are not strong or have imbalances through their legs and hips, the knee drops inwards. This is very common in women, and it is a good screening test prior to a program. You can see in this picture, the person performing the single leg squat has major valgus.
This usually occurs from a strength abnormality in the glutes, which causes the leg to adduct. This consequently causes valgus at the knee. This basically means that your knee will not be tracking correctly, and a whole host of problems can arise from that. So if you get in front of a mirror, and do a single leg squat, you will be able to see if your knee stays basically in a straight line, or valgus occurs. You may need to work a lot on your glutes, and start doing single leg squats frequently.
Another problem you can often see in the single leg squat is the lack of mobility in the ankle. Often after an ankle injury, people have a lower range of mobility. Looking at a single leg squat done side on, this can be evident. It will cause the person to bend more at the hip to get more range.
So we have basically covered how useful this simple exercises can be, and how many problems you can see right away from it. Here are a few variations of the single leg squat that you can use in your program.