Build Leg Strength
There are two ways athletes can train their legs. Bilateral strength training exercises like traditional squats and dead lifts help to add overall strength and stability to the body. While unilateral strength and balance exercises like the one leg squat and single leg romanian dead lift will help athletes develop greater balance and stability.
One of the best one leg squat variations is the Bulgarian Split Squat. This exercise varies from a traditional single leg squat by bringing the non working foot to a resting position behind the athlete. This positioning is great for keeping athletes hips back as they squat. By keeping the knee behind the toe throughout the single leg squat movement the athlete will receive more activation in the glutes and hamstrings, also easing pressure and tension on the knee and ankle.
Proper body positioning during the Bulgarian Split Squat will help athletes improve their ankle stability, as well as isolating and activating the explosive muscles in the targeted leg.
Strength And Balance Exercises For Athletes
The Bulgarian Split Squat can be performed with a plyometric box, a weight bench, or a KB Duo Suspension Trainer. Athletes who have a KB Duo Suspension Trainer can perform a variation of the Bulgarian Split Squat called the KB Duo Sliding Squats.
To perform the KB Duo Sliding Squats athletes will slide the KB Duo handle off to the side to create a foot hole. Athletes will place one foot in the KB Duo handle and step away from the anchor point to a stable position. The athletes foot in the KB Duo handle should be to the rear of the athlete. From a good athletic stance athletes will begin to sink into a squatting motion. Keeping the front knee over the front heel athletes will pull their forward hip back as they allow their leg to slide back as the one leg squat deepens. Athletes will also want to focus of inflating their chest and keeping their eyes up, and focused on a central point in front of them.
Athletes will complete 5 total sets of 12 repetitions on each leg. During the first four sets of the balance exercise athletes will simply perform 12 repetitions on each leg. After the last repetition of the fifth set of the KB Duo Sliding Squats athletes will come to a position where their front knee and hips are at 90 degree angles. Athletes will hold this position for 30-45 seconds. This final burnout set of the leg exercise will challenge the strength endurance of the thighs and abs.
Complete this single leg strength training exercise during any team or circuit style training routine.
Building Strength And Balance
The goal of the KB Duo Sliding Squats is to challenge the strength of the glutes, abs, hamstrings, and hip flexors. This exercise also challenges athletes’ balance and depending on the skill level of the athlete this lack of balance may compromise their form and execution of the single leg squat exercise. Athletes always have the option of using a Stability Ball or other object to aid their balance during the single leg exercise. Although athletes are encouraged to challenge themselves during the KB Duo Sliding Squats a balance aid can help athletes gain the strength and confidence to go deeper into their squat when performing unassisted single leg squats.
Athletes who perform the KB Duo Sliding Squats during their regular workout routines will see major improvements in their balance, stability, and leg strength.
Exercises To Pair With The KB Duo Sliding Squats
Since athletes will be challenging their strength and balance with 60 repetitions on each leg, with a 30-45 second hold, athletes will want to perform any more complex or sports specific movements before completing the KB Duo Sliding Squats. When performing just a strength workout, athletes should complete all bi lateral compound movements prior to completing the KB Duo Sliding Squats.
Since the KB Duo Sliding Squats are more of a knee bending movement athletes should think of some hip bending movements to perform during the same workout. This will keep the front and the back of the body in good strength alignment helping to increase performance and reduce the chance of injury.
Hip bending movements like the Single Leg RDL, Glute Bridges, or dead lifts are great exercises to pair with the KB Duo Sliding Squats. Using the Kbands Leg Resistance during the Single Leg RDL exercise helps to increase the amount of activation in the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.
The Kbands Leg Resistance Bands also work great for increasing the amount of glute activation during a Glute Bridge or Hip Extension. By placing resistance around the knees and not allowing the knees to roll in toward each other athletes can help relieve low back pain and strengthen their glutes and hamstrings at the same time. An advanced version of the glute bridge can also be performed in the KB Duo handles.
Dead lifts in particular are one of the best hip hinging movements athletes can perform. Good form allows athletes to target the stabilizing force of the abdominal muscles as the glutes and hamstrings work to flex and extend the hips and legs.
When performed correctly the Single Leg RDL, Glute Bridges, and dead lifts are all great complimentary exercises to the KB Duo Sliding Squats. Athletes should go to the Training Section and take the time to learn how to perfect their form on all of these movements. Athletes who can perform these movements at a high level will see tremendous improvements in jumping, explosive, and change of direction movements. However, poor execution of these exercises could result in tightness in the lower back, knee or ankle pain.
Along with good form and execution athletes can also go to the Recovery Section and learn how things like Self Myofascial Release, using the Recovery Foam Roller, and flexibility exercises, using the Ballistic Bands, can help improve performance and prolong playing time.