There are a lot of “cool” exercises out there and it is fun to be able to do cool things in the gym, but in order to do cool stuff we have to have done all of the preceding stages of less cool stuff in order to perform more advanced movements correctly. One such exercise is a single leg squat. This is a very advanced movement that requires a lot of balance and leg strength to perform properly. In previous posts we have seen a progression of exercise, starting with basic and moving up to more complex. Below there is a breakdown of how to get you from a basic squat to a single leg squat. This series of movements may take months to master so if you would like to replicate what is being show here take the time to do it right!
The first and most basic movement is a squat. It is very important that we can get to a full 90 degree depth with our knees tracking over our first and second toe while not going in front of them. There is a blue foam roller in these images to show that the knee is not passing the toe. This can be an effective tool to help you make sure you are doing these exercise correctly.
The second movement is a split squat. Again making sure that our knee is tracking over our first and second toe and not going in front of them. Also of importance here is not allowing your body weight to collapse forward. You should be able to stand upright during this whole movement.
The third is an elevated rear foot split squat. All of the aforementioned tracking advice still applies, but now we are adding a balance component while increasing the load to the front leg.
Number four is a bench assisted single leg squat. In this stage it is very important that your knee tracking stays perfect. A lot of people may need to regress to stage three and add weight to the elevated rear foot squat before they can perform stage four correctly.
Stage five. Now things are getting exciting. A stability ball assisted single leg squat adds a yet another component of balance to this series. All of the above tracking rules apply to this squat as well.
Stage six. You have finally made it to a single leg squat. This is a very difficult movement and you will likely have to modify your depth until you have the strength to get really low. In the image I am at about a 70 degree angle because when I go to 90 degrees my knee wants to collapse inward. It is way more important to get your tracking correct than it is to get low. Do the depth you can do perfectly then slowly increase it as you get stronger.
It is important to note that this progression series is designed to be done over a 6-month period. In order to perform a “cool” exercise you need to first go through a series of less exciting stuff. Take your time and get it right before proceeding to the next stage.