Unilateral Squat

It’s very common to have imbalances within our body. One leg is stronger than the other. One arm has more flexibility, or a greater range of motion than the other. This is when unilateral exercises become an important part of our training routines. Working one side of the body at a time, allows the weaker side to gain strength without the stronger side providing any compensation.

The unilateral squat is a great lower body exercise that concentrates on one leg at a time, using just your body weight. Increase intensity by prolonging duration or increasing reps per side.

Unilateral Squat

Begin with feet closer than hip width apart. Press the hips back and sink into a low squat, ensuring knees do not pass in front of toes. The lower you sit into this move, the more challenging it will be, but we each have our own comfortable range of motion. Form first. Chest should stay open (don’t round the top of your back). Once ready, lift one foot off of ground so the toe lightly taps the floor. The majority of your weight should be in the planted foot, and pressure should be in the heel.

IMG_6594 (640x516) (2)

The leg with the planted foot will be your “working leg”. The other leg will stretch out to the side while maintaining most of your body weight in the working leg. Remember to keep the pressure in the heel. You should be able to wiggle the toes of your working leg if you wanted to.

IMG_6595 (640x504)

Once leg is fully outstretched to the side, toe lightly taps the floor before beginning a slow and controlled return to the starting position. When toe is both “in” and “out” it should not rest on the ground or hold much weight. It is a light tap to the floor (imagine a piece of paper separating your toe from the floor).

IMG_6597 (640x520)

Continue all reps on one side before switching sides. You can do this exercise for a prescribed amount of reps, or a prescribed time (30s-1min). Try for three sets on each leg.

TIP: Want even more intensity? Hold a dumbbell at chest level while performing this exercise.

Train hard, train safe and have fun!