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  • Writer's pictureChris Cooper

5 of the Best Single Leg/Lunge Exercises

There's just something about single-leg exercises that screams, "this is gonna suck." Single leg exercises like lunges have the ability to give us more of a run for our money than their bilateral counterparts like the squat. We can load them up more than you think you can, but even without a large load, as you'll see, single leg work can boost strength, build muscle and give us a big bang to the metabolic system.

Forward to Backward Lunges

This lunge combo is hell unleashed on your legs. To do this, you step forward into a lunge, and then as you come back to the starting position, you're going right into that reverse lunge with no rest. Not only do your legs get crushed from the back and forth movement and the constant tension, but you're also going to get a big metabolic demand from the rest of your body.

In addition, there is a big stability component at the hips as you transition from the forward lunge to the backward lunge.

Hatfield Bulgarian Split Squat

This is quite literally my favorite single-leg exercise ever, and one of the squat variation I love to do. Why? Because you can load it up and challenge your single-leg strength. The most limiting thing about single-leg exercises is controlling the balance. With the ability to hold onto the rack using the safety bar, we eliminate that limiting factor.

Another limiting factor is how much weight can you hold in your hands while doing so. Grip strength may limit how hard you hit your legs. Again, using the safety bar, we knock that out.

Lunge Step Up Combo

This starts off as a deficit reverse lunge in order to maximize our available range of motion. However, when we add in the step up, we're even further increasing the range of motion in which we use. Plus we get the drive off the front leg we'd get from a regular step-up.

This is one where the box doesn't have to be high in order to get the results. In the video, we're using a 12 inch box.

Assisted Single Leg Squat

Pistol squats are really hard to achieve. You need a great amount of strength to do them, but you also need the right hip and ankle mobility to get into that position. Using the TRX, rings, or any other assistance, we can get some of the benefits of a pistol squat without worrying about some of those limiting mobility factors.

Non Alternating Walking Lunge

These are a bit unconventional when it comes to walking lunges as you typically see them done in an alternating fashion. However, one of the drawbacks to those alternating walking lunges is that, with each step, one leg is getting a bit of an extended rest between reps.

This means a loss in tension in the muscle, which is something we want to maintain in order to get stronger or build up muscle in the legs. With this version, the one side gets loaded with each step, with no breaks, and the constant tension rewards you with a killer quad pump.

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