The Single Leg Squat

Work your glutes, hamstring, quads and core

Single leg squats are absolutely up there on my “favorites” list when it comes to developing a tight and toned booty. Last week I shared with you another favorite, the barbell glute bridge.

The single leg squat flows nicely with the glute bridge because you can use it as a supplemental exercise after some heavier sets on the barbell. This is one exercise that a lot of women avoid because you will often see women doing advanced versions such as pistols, and you may not be sure how to start off and build up on this movement.

The great thing is that even if you are just starting out with single leg work, you can dominate this exercise quickly. Start with a bench or a 20-inch box and gradually progress to a lower box as you get stronger and more balanced.

This exercise works your glutes and hamstrings but similar to a lunge, it also recruits some quads and core along the way.

Here are some tips for a single leg squat using a bench or a box:

• Lift one leg off the ground and keep that leg slightly bent
• Squeeze your abs and pull your shoulder blades back to engage your core
• Lower yourself down to the bench slowly and relax your hips so you reduce momentum
• Drive back up through that working leg, using your heel as the major contact with the floor
• Tap your opposite foot between reps if you need to balance, but keep it off the floor as you perform the squat
• Keep your weight on the heel and the outside of your foot (this is a great trick if you feel some lateral movement in your knee, which a lot of women do when they switch to single leg work)
• Perform 5-8 reps per side

• 20-inch box or a bench
• Drop down to a 12-inch box
• Add weight using a plate, dumbbell, chain or weight vest

I really like this exercise over a traditional pistol squat, even for advanced women. The contact with the box will allow you to recruit your glutes and really focus on the movement, similar to a barbell parallel box squat on two legs.

How to program this exercise into your training:

• Use it as a supplement to a deadlift, glute bridge or any other bilateral lift
• Use it in a circuit
• Use it in a superset with a less knee-dominant movement, such as kettlebell swings or glute bridges as mentioned above

Here’s a brief video with a demonstration on this great exercise. Be sure to leave a comment if you do these or if you try them out!

Callie Durbrow

Callie Durbrow is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training and the author of Strong and Sexy in 25 Minutes.

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