Single-Leg Exercises to Improve Your Training Routine

If you want to get a good workout for your legs, try some of the single-leg exercises we're sharing with you today.
Single-Leg Exercises to Improve Your Training Routine

Last update: 14 March, 2020

It’s as important to work your leg muscles as the muscles in other parts of your body. However, some athletes aren’t training their legs properly because they aren’t sure what kinds of exercises are the best. In today’s article, we’ll share the best single-leg exercises for rock-hard legs.

Legs are often the most ignored and underestimated muscle group. Those who neglect their legs tend to find excuses not to include leg exercises in their routine. However, the long-term results are definitely worth the effort.

The single-leg exercises we’ll show you today allow you to train each leg individually. If you’re using weights, you won’t be able to lift as much, but the exercises will be more intense.

You can do these exercises with your own body weight, or you can add hand weights or a barbell. As always, remember to properly stretch before and after your workout to avoid injury and muscle pain.

The best single-leg exercises

If you want to improve your leg day, here are some exercises that work each leg independently.

1. Single-leg exercises: box jump

The first exercise is a single-leg box jump. This is a very simple, but very effective exercise. This movement creates explosive power in each leg, which is important because most jumping movements in sports are with just one leg.

The procedure is simple: stand behind a box or bench that comes up to your knees. Shift your weight to one leg, and lift the other food. Jump towards the box while you guide yourself with your hips and swing your arms to get momentum.

A woman doing a box jump.

Carefully step off the box in a partial squat position, then straighten up completely. Take a step back to return to your original position. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.

2. Bulgarian squat

This exercise incorporates the strength, balance, and stability that you need for most sports and exercise. By keeping the back leg elevated, you increase the difficulty and make your muscles work harder.

Stand in front of a knee-high bench or box and get into a squat position with your back foot on top of the box or bench. Keeping your knee and back straight, do a slow and controlled squat, stopping just before your knee touches the ground.

Two guys watching a woman do a lunge.

Push into the heel of your front leg and return to the starting position. Try to do 3 sets of 12 reps on each leg.

3. Single-leg exercises: lunges

These lunges are one of the most basic single-leg exercises. They’re very effective for strengthening your thighs and your glutesThis movement is essential for training your legs because it’s a dynamic movement that lets you do resistance work without any equipment.

Remember that you can also do these exercises with hand weights to increase the difficulty. Another tip is to inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.

A woman doing a lunge outside.

To do a basic lunge, start standing with your arms by your sides. Take a large step forward and bend your front leg to bring your body down. Go down as far as you can, making sure the knee doesn’t go past your ankle. Your thigh should get close to the ground, and your knee should be at a ninety-degree angle.

Then, push your body by straightening your front leg. Keep your back straight and don’t lean too far forward. Repeat the movement, alternating legs, or finish your set and then switch legs.

4. Side single-leg lifts

For this last exercise, lay on your right side, supporting your body with your bent arm. Your legs should be straight out and your feet flexed. Your abs should help you stay up as well, don’t let your torso crunch down towards the floor. Next, lift your left leg until your knee is at hip height.

Once your leg is up, count to three before slowly lowering it down. The movement should be slow and you have to keep your leg tense. Do two sets of 12 reps on each side.

A woman doing single-leg exercises.

As you can see, there are plenty of single-leg exercises that you can add to your training routine. Pick your favorite and add it to your normal workout routine to get rock-hard legs. What are you waiting for?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Zhou, B., Sundholm, M., Cheng, J., Cruz, H., & Lukowicz, P. (2016). Never skip leg day: A novel wearable approach to monitoring gym leg exercises. In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, PerCom 2016. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.