While many bodybuilders perform popular leg exercises like squats, leg extensions, and leg presses, how often do you see somebody performing single-leg squats? If your answer is “rarely,” then you’re not alone — we seldom see lifters using this exercise to strengthen and grow their legs.
One of the most important reasons to perform single-leg squats is that this exercise not only adds variety to your routine and allows you to hit your legs separately, but that it also helps to determine whether one of your legs is weaker than the other.
However, there are additional reasons to perform single-leg squats and other exercises that hit the legs or arms separately. These reasons are:
1. Find Whether One of Your Legs is Weaker
It’s a known fact that many people have one of their arms stronger than the other, yet, many folks don’t know that one of their legs is also probably stronger than the other.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether one of your legs is weaker than the other is to perform as many reps of single-leg squats with your right leg and after a four-minute rest, complete the same process with your left leg. And, of course, you should use the same amount of weight with both legs while performing this test.
2. Strengthen Your Weaker Leg
If after the test you probably realized that one of your legs is weaker than the other, this means that you should definitely add single-leg squats and other one-leg exercises like dumbbell deficit Bulgarian squat, pistol squats, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts to your routine.
However, even if one of your legs is weaker, it doesn’t mean that you should perform more reps or sets for one leg than the other. Keep the numbers the same and after three weeks, try the same test again. If you’ve performed every exercise in the right way, you should see how your legs become equal in strength and size.
Yet, don’t expect that immediately after three weeks your legs will become the same in strength and size. This may take from two months to half a year so be patient, continue training and increasing the difficulty of your workout.
3. Teach Concentration
While performing single-leg squats or any other exercise that requires using one limb, people concentrate more on that particular working body part. And the good thing about concentrating on a particular body part is that it increases muscle and strength gains.
So, whether you do exercises while using two limbs or one, you shouldn’t train mindlessly like a robot but try to feel how your muscles work. The reason behind this is that when you’re concentrated, your nerves respond better to a stimulus while training and result in greater training achievements.
4. Single-Leg Squats Help to Avoid Spine Injuries
If you have a spine injury or while performing your leg workout sometimes feel that your back will surrender faster than your legs, then you should make changes in your leg workout. Of course, there also might be a problem with your back workout caused by improperly performing back exercises or just giving too much work to your back muscles.
But spine injuries might also be caused by the heavy weights you use while training the legs. So, having a few exercises that are performed with one leg and don’t require using too much weight can help you to avoid spine injuries by giving some rest to your back while still providing your legs with plenty of work.
5. Make You Better in Sports
Some sports require the use of one leg more often than the other, so it results in making you proficient in how to use one of your legs better than the other. So, if you kick a ball, start jogging or jumping with a specific leg but you want to learn to do the same with both legs, then adding one-leg exercises will help you to learn it easier.