Single arm and leg exercises are often overlooked in gym's, which is a shame, as these are fantastic exercises for runners, climbers, cyclists and mountain bikers.

In this blog I want to talk to you about single leg exercises and show you a few examples of them. 

Also going into the details about why you should be adding them to your training.

Let's get into it!

What are they?

Well, simply put. Exercises done on one arm and leg. 

So for example. Let's take an exercise we all know, the DB bench press. Arguably one of the best exercises for strengthening up the upper bodies chest, shoulder and arms. The DB bench press is a fantastic way to builds some strength. 


What if you want to add stability? What if you want to make it more relevant to your sport? And what if you want to increase the difficulty of the exercise without adding a tonne of weight to the DB's (doing DB press on your own can be dangerous if you don't have any help lifting the weights into the press position).

Changing the exercise to a single arm DB press can be a fantastic way to do all of the above. I like it as it allows you to really slow the movement down, and focus on form. It's also brilliant for mountain bikers and trail runners as it allows the body to become more stable, very important for people who spend a lot of time travelling over uneven ground.

Another great example for anyone who competes in any sport that requires a change of direction, movement and jumping is the single leg squat. Adding a stabilising factor into the knees and allowing the body to increase it's ability to put one limb and joint under pressure. Again a must for anyone who leads an active lifestyle outside of a gym.

Why should you be doing them?

As I have briefly covered above. Single arm and leg exercises have a number of performance improving qualities, such as improved stability when changing direction and jumping, improved balance and knee strength when jumping and dropping on the bike, Improved control in individual legs and much more.

However, single leg and arm work can also dramatically improve the bodies core function and comfort. I will openly admit, I do not enjoy training "core". Why?

Because it is generally associated with looking good on the beach and doing crunch after crunch.

Having no actual benefit to people who move around a lot.

Single limb work engages the core, and allows it to work as a stabilizer (what is was designed for) without you really focusing on targeting your core area.

Meaning you become more stable, more strong in that area as well and without subjecting yourself to the boring core workouts.

Now, let's take a look at the benefits of having a stable core:

- A decrease in back pain.

- Better posture, especially when sitting for long periods of time (desk jobs).

- Increased comfort while cycling.

- More stable and balanced when trail running.

- More able to absorb impact (road running and crashing).

As you can see, there are a huge range of benefits when it comes to adding in single limb work to your training, so, how can you do this?

In this next section I will show the regular exercise, a basic single limb exercise and a more advanced movement:

- Barbell squat > Single leg box squat > Pistol squat.

- DB lunge > Static lunge > Bulgarian squat.

- BB bench press > DB bench press > Single arm bench press > Single arm press up.

- BB shoulder press > Standing DB shoulder press > Single arm DB shoulder press.

Four great examples for you there!

If you do want to see more examples of single leg work, keep an eye out on my instagram page @acopleypt.

I regularly upload content there where you can see these exercises in action.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and it has opened your eyes up to a new form of training.

As always feel free to contact me (accopley11@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

Stay safe, stay outdoors.


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