Even if you've been working out for years and are pretty sure you have your routine down by now, we have a feeling there might be a critical component missing from your workouts.
As personal trainers, one of the first things we do is discuss with each person which exercises they've already been doing on their own.
Nearly every time, we notice something very important is missing.
Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do to boost your overall health and to update your training is to focus on single leg exercises.
Let's go over what that means for you.
What Does It Mean To Focus On Single Leg Training?
There's no great mystery to single leg training.
It essentially asks you to continue doing the exercises you’re already familiar with, such as deadlifts or squats, and to slightly adjust your training routine so you can do these while balancing on one leg at a time.
Of course, you will also be incorporating some new exercises which allow you to focus on each leg individually.
Now, whatever weight you can squat normally should not be attempted as a single leg exercise right away.
You don't want to risk injury.
Instead, start slow.
Begin by trying out these new moves just as bodyweight exercises until you feel comfortable with the movement and can see that your form is on point.
These exercises can really benefit from the help of a personal trainer or fitness coach to make sure you're doing things properly, challenging yourself appropriately, and so you can avoid injury.
Most People Have Poor Balance
Most people think their balance is pretty good. Then they try single leg training.
We don't realize how poor our balance has become because we rarely need it...but that just means that when you do need balance, you are not prepared and you will often end up hurt.
That is why training on one leg at a time is so important. You need to train yourself in a safe setting (like the gym) to improve your balance and make sure it is there when needed.
But it's not just about avoiding injury. Balance is also a prerequisite to being strong. If your muscles do not feel stable, they limit themselves to avoid injury.
So if you have been noticing yourself getting weaker, it's not just because of the big muscles...it's also because all of the little stabilizing muscles around them are not being trained.
When you are standing on one leg, there is actually a combination of strength, stability, and neurological feedback that is being worked. The more you train these elements together, the better strength, stability, balance, and even flexibility you will have!
Most of the Things You Do in a Day Are Already "One Legged" Activities
Let's look at an activity you've been doing every day of your life since you were a toddler: walking.
Walking requires a tremendous amount of balance and trust in yourself.
When the action is broken down by science, you may be shocked to find that walking is nothing more than a controlled cycle of falling and catching yourself.
Think about it: you balance entirely on your right leg while swinging your left leg forward.
You then lean slightly into that leg suspended off the ground, but before your body has a chance to enter a free fall, your balance immediately switches to the left leg just as you propel forward once again.
Running is an even more dramatic example of controlled falling and catching yourself.
In fact, if you've ever tripped while walking or running, what likely happened was that something (a tree root, a stair, a curb) prevented you from catching yourself after you passed the apex of the fall.
In sports, one leg activities happen all the time, especially in cases like golf or tennis.
However, when playing sports, you may tend to favor one leg, causing asymmetries. These can lead to pain or injury in the long run.
You can avoid all of that by incorporating single leg training into your strength routine.
Single Leg Training Is Brain Training!
Everyday activities like walking seem easy to us because they are rehearsed. We have years of experience with walking, so it's become automatic.
Single leg balancing is a different story.
When you’re training one leg it a time, not only do you need to engage different muscle groups, but you also need to have a fully focused and determined mind.
If your thoughts wander too much during a training session, that's a good way to wind up on the floor.
So, in a way, single leg training can help keep your brain sharp, by keeping you present and focused on the activity at hand. It can help increase your concentration and bodily awareness, which is a huge plus.
How to Get Started
If you have been struggling with your balance, or you would like to do more balance training, but are not sure where to start, that is where we can help.
Exercise doesn't have to be complicated, but you do need to have the right exercises to match your goals and your fitness ability.
When you work with a coach at Mint, you are going to get a full fitness evaluation to help make sure that we start you on a program that is right for you.
And right now, you can get in for our 28-Day Kickstart Program where you will learn the exact exercises you need to get you to your goals.
In this program you will get:
- A full fitness evaluation
- 2-3 personal training sessions weekly to teach you the exact exercises you need to not only improve your balance, but also build strength, tone, and boost your energy and mood
- A simple meal plan
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
If you want to set yourself up for success click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.