Making Lower Body Single Leg Strength Exercises More Difficult

Every exercise should have a regression or progression based on if the athlete “gets it.”  I don’t think you should abandon an exercise altogether if the athlete doesn’t perform it perfectly within the first set, sometimes it takes time (by perfectly I mean done in a manner that is not harmful!).  However, many athletes and clients we work with need to start somewhere that is going to make them successful. Then, as they get better over the course of a few weeks, we gradually increase the intensity of the lift and/or switch to a progression.  One of the ways we implement progressions to single leg exercises, specifically the DB Reverse Lunge, is by simply raising where the load is relative to the center of mass.  Put simply, weights held overhead are going to be considerably more difficult than weights in the arms by the hips (the center of mass).

A simple progression to DB Reverse Lunging that I like to use and it seems to work well is…

Phase 1: DB Reverse Lunge (dumbbells in both hands)—pictured below.
IMG_1299Phase 2: Offset DB Reverse Lunge (1 DB held on the inside of the working leg)
   -Adding a unilateral variation increases the difficulty by increasing core stability as well as forcing the gluteals to work because the weight wants to shift the knee inward more-so 

Phase 3: KB Rack Position Reverse Lunge/Reverse Lunge with Front Squat Grip/

-Now the weight is farther away from our center of mass making it more difficult
KB Rack version: 

Front Squat Grip version (Endeavor gorilla Kevin)

We could also use the back squat position of the barbell as a similar variation where the weight is held around the shoulders.  The last and sometimes unnecessary phase would be to progress to holding dumbbells overhead.  99% we are going to stick with these first 3 phases.

Quick off topic tip:
-Don’t progress to fast!  There is no need to start with fancier progressions if the athlete is still mastering the lift and still needing to get strong but be sure to tell them that.  It is quite amazing to see even great athletes that have difficulty with the basics..get better at basic.

Cheers,
Matt



Categories: Core Training, Injury Prevention, Strength Training

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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