Reconsider Your Single-Leg Training Approach

About the Author: Eric Cressey

I get a lot of questions about whether single-leg exercises are quad-dominant or hip dominant and where to place them in training programs. After chatting more with Mike Boyle and considering how I’ve approached it in the past, I’ve realized that if you categorize things the way Mike does, you have a lot of “wiggle room” with your programming to fit more of it in. Mike separates his single-leg work into three categories:

1. Static Unsupported – 1-leg squats (Pistols), 1-leg SLDLs
2. Static Supported – Bulgarian Split Squats
3. Dynamic – Lunges, Step-ups

From there, you can also divide single-leg movements into decelerative (forward lunging) and accelerative (slideboard work, reverse lunges). I’ve found that accelerative movements are most effective early progressions after lower extremity injuries (less stress on the knee joint).

I think that it’s ideal for everyone to aim to get at least one of each of the three options in each week. If one needed to be sacrificed, it would be static supported. Because static unsupported aren’t generally loaded as heavily and don’t cause as much delayed onset muscle soreness, they can often be thrown in on upper body days. Here are some sample splits you might want to try:


M – Include static supported (50/50 upper/lower exercise selection)
W – Include static unsupported (only lower body exercise)
F – Include dynamic (50/50 upper/lower exercise selection)

Notice how the most stressful/DOMS-inducing option is placed prior to the longest recovery period (the weekend of rest).


M – Include static supported in lower-body training session.
W – Include static unsupported (only lower body exercise in otherwise upper body session)
F – Include dynamic in lower-body training session
Sa – Upper body workout, no single-leg work outside of warm-up and unloaded prehab work

Be sure to switch exercises and rotate decelerative/accelerative every four weeks.

Eric Cressey

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