Leg Strengthening Exercises: One Legged Squats
Athletes, dancers, and anyone who might benefit from a bit of toning and strengthening in the leg area should consider four aspects of leg strength while developing a workout plan: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, and balance. The hamstrings run up the back of the thigh and represent one of the largest and strongest muscle groups in the body. In fact, these muscles are so large and strong that generating tension in this area doesn’t just tone the legs—It also helps to raise the heart rate, which contributes to total body conditioning. The glutes and quads are also key areas of focus for any effective set of leg strengthening exercises, and the final element—balance—can contribute to leg strength by developing the subtle, supportive muscles that contract unconsciously in order to keep the body centered and aligned.
A workout that targets any one of these aspects of leg strength can be beneficial to toning and athletic success, and an ideal set of leg strengthening exercises will incorporate all of these elements at the same time. In the video below, the Kbands trainers demonstrate a set of leg strengthening exercises that focus specifically on the hamstrings, the glutes, and the subtle muscles responsible for balance and coordination.
This set of leg strengthening exercises will require the use of the KB Duo suspension training system, a lightweight, portable set of straps that rely on principles of simple biomechanics to create a complete, full body workout experience. The straps can be adjusted for any user of any size or body type, and they can turn any living room or outdoor workout space into a gym. To set up the straps for this specific set of leg strengthening exercises, users need only a bit of floor space, a supportive object for security (like a table or plyobox) and a sturdy overhead anchor point where the straps of the KB Duo can be attached.
Once the straps are in place and have been adjusted so the loops hand down about ten inches above the floor, this set of leg strengthening exercises can begin.
The One-Legged Squat: A Set of Dynamic Leg Strengthening Exercises
To begin this set of leg strengthening exercises, the user can enlist the help of a partner to place his right foot, heel up, into the right strap of the KB Duo. Then with his weight balanced on the other foot, he stands upright beside the supportive plyobox. There’s no need to touch or rest his weight on the box—it’s only there for safety.
When the user is in position, he bends his left knee in a controlled motion and lowers his body toward the floor. From the hips up, the body should stay upright, and should not lean forward or arch back. To stay centered, the user extends both arms in front of his body, and as his torso lowers, he raises his arms until they’re parallel with the floor. As he straightens the left knee and rises back up again, his arms stay extended.
Leg Strengthening Exercises: Form and Position
Form and technique will be central to the success of this leg workout, and correct form starts with the distance between the body and the KB Duo anchor point. Users should make sure they step out fully and create plenty of space, more than may feel natural at first.
The second important aspect of form relates to the left knee and the left toe. As with any correct lunge, the knee should never move further forward than the toe, even when fully bent. If the knee is coming too far forward as the body is lowered, the user should straighten out and step a little further away from the anchor point.
Squareness in the hips will also be central to the success of this move. As the body lowers toward the floor and then rises back up, the hips should not angle outward and open up in the direction of the right leg. Instead, they should stay perfectly square and perpendicular to the front-back line of the body. This will help keep the tension of the move focused in the hamstrings and glutes where it belongs. Maintaining square hips also places demands on the user’s sense of balance, which is an important aspect of leg strength and conditioning.
Leg Strengthening Exercises: Timing and Rest Periods
This entire leg strengthening workout will include eight one-legged squats on the right leg, followed by a 30 second rest period. Then the user can step back into the loops for eight more squats on the left leg, followed by another 30 second break. This means that for each total set, the user will be resting for about one full minute.
This cycle should be completed four times in succession. By the second or third round, the glutes and hamstrings should be starting to tense up. If this isn’t happening, users should make sure the hips are staying square with each rep. And if this tension and tight feeling are too intense, it may mean that a little more warm-up before the exercise may be required. Users can feel free to pause for a minute and stretch the glutes and hamstrings to loosen them up before continuing with the rest of the set.
To get the most out of this exercise, users should remember to bend the knee and drop down as low as possible at each rep. The hips should stay square, the upper body should stay upright. Users shouldn’t arch back or allow the body weight to settle into the foot and the KB Duo strap. Instead, the focus should stay forward.
Leg Strengthening Exercises: Final Notes
This leg strengthening exercise is only one of hundreds of possible moves that can be completed using different configurations of the body and the KB Duo. For more exercises like these, and for more information about suspension and resistance training using the KB Duo, the Kbands, or the KB Powerbands, visit the training tab above.