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Single-Leg Strength Training
Embrace and train your asymmetries!
Team! This is an essential to add to your fitness library regardless of your fitness level. The single-leg squat and its variations are an excellent way to train within our natural asymmetries to optimize lower body strength, balance and versatility! Enjoy! -Carla
Human beings are asymmetric by design. This originates from our “handed-ness”, meaning being right-handed or left-handed. Whether we are right or left-handed is a reflection of which side of our body is our “dominant” side. Naturally, our dominant side is the stronger or most comfortable side we use to do various tasks.
In martial arts and interestingly, surgical training, managing natural asymmetry is important. Earlier in my career when I was training as a surgeon, my mentors would insist on learning to operate from both sides of the operating table. This is akin to learning to write with your right and left hands. Not easy! Similarly, a former martial arts instructor focused our training on establishing “strong” and “stronger” sides rather than surrendering to a “strong” and “weak” side.
Why on Earth is this important for mid-life women? Because training your asymmetries to build “strong” and “stronger” sides, creates strength, improves balance and stability (preventing falls and fractures) and promotes versatility in movements performed for any sport or physical task during our youth and as we age.
Today’s workout takes a page from the playbook of two very different former mentors, focusing on lower body asymmetry training with options for any level or mobility limitation.
AMRAP 7 minutes (As many rounds as possible in 7 minutes) - low to moderate intensity
20 single-under jump rope or simulated jump rope
Take 5-10 minutes to watch the video and test out various options for the single-leg squat. If none of these is an option for your abilities, check out the Movement alternatives below to find your best fit for this workout!
For the pull-ups, select the option that allows you to achieve 5 unbroken repetitions confidently but not easily.
Today’s workout is taken from an excerpt from the CrossFit Gymnastics Training course and from the CrossFit workout library, Workout 230428.
AMRAP 20 (As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes)
5 strict pull-ups
20 single-leg squats (total of 10 left and 10 right)
TIP: Depending on your option, you may choose to alternate legs each rep, or do small sets on one side before switching legs. Either way, ensure that you perform the same number of repetitions on both sides.
So, why the pull-ups? It’s a sneaky way to further challenge the core muscles needed for the single-leg squat while allowing the legs to rest!
Single-leg squat alternatives:
Bulgarian Split Squat (body weight or holding 2 dumbbells by your sides or a kettlebell as a “goblet” squat). If you choose this option, would recommend alternating legs every 5 or 10 repetitions.
Lunge with forward lean (use dumbbells or body weight only) - do 5 or 10 repetitions before switching sides. TIP! Keep the front knee in line with the ankle - avoid tracking the knee over the toes
Walking or alternating lunge in place - body weight only, holding 2 dumbbells by your sides or holding a kettlebell in a “goblet” position at your chest.
For the pull-ups, sub any of the following:
Team! This is not one to skip! Your legs are a skeletal muscle powerhouse - and this workout challenged them to a high level. In turn, this requires high-level recovery and it begins with tissue care. Your legs will thank you!