The single leg squat works the quads, glutes and hamstrings. It requires strength, stability, balance and good flexibility. This is a challenging movement which for most people can take a lot of time to progress to. For the stronger athlete, it is most often flexibility which is their limiting factor. Without good dorsiflexion in the ankles, it is almost impossible to get good depth on the movement.
Building up to the Single Leg Squat:
Firstly work on your flexibility! Roll your calves with a PVC pipe or lacrosse ball. Work on your hip and ankle mobility. For some good tips and ideas on this check out Kelly Staretts “Becoming a Supple Leopard”, kept in the chill-out area!.
· Practise squatting with your feet together. This will help will the flexibility side of things. Allow the knees to track forward here, but not too far past the toes.
· Practise single leg squats to a box. This will allow you to adjust the distance you lower yourself. As you build more strength in the movement, you can lower the box. Focus on keeping an upright torso, and keeping tension on throughout. In other words, don’t allow yourself to flop down or sit heavily on the box at the bottom of the movement!!
· Practise single leg squats with your foot behind you instead of in front. This will allow you to get a good feel for the movement, and the stability required to get through full Range of Motion. Keep your foot at an angle behind (like a curtsey!) and try not allow your foot to touch the ground too heavily (stay on toes lightly!)