WATCH: Unilateral Lower Body Training for Sport Performance

TAGS: Zercher lift, Bulgarian sprinter's squat, split snatch, Borzov hops, hip thrust, bilateral movements, Single Leg, suitcase deadlift, unilateral movements, Ashley Jones, programming, Sports Training, athlete, strength, strength training

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As I've often mentioned over the last few years, as a person develops his training age, he needs to spend equal or more time performing unilateral movements over bilateral movements. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, though. You'll never optimize your maximal strength and power without performing bilateral movements.

A great friend Chris Lawler recently asked me to advise him on some movements to perform on a regular basis for his burgeoning cycling career. Although this program was developed for him, the principles and ideas have great transfer to all sports that have you spending some time on a single leg.

The warm-up needs to be specific to the task. Because we will be primarily working unilateral movements, the warm-up must reflect this as well. I really have enjoyed the following warm-up sequence and believe that it sets a person up well moving into the next phase of the workout.

Start with single leg hip thrusts with the shoulders on a bench. Super set those with single leg Borzov hops. Perform three sets of five reps on each leg, working left to left. Then rest and do right to right for the required number of sets and reps.

Next, perform a split snatch from the hang. Recover the rear leg on to a low box. Drive up on to the box and bring the other leg through, finishing with the initial front leg of the snatch brought to 90 degrees hip flexion and the leg on the box finishing on the toes. Repeat on the opposite leg for the required number of sets and reps. Two to three reps per set for 4–6 sets should do the trick.

Next, perform a Bulgarian sprinter’s squat. Super set that with a split stance Romanian deadlift. The feet are hip width apart, and the heel of the front foot is lined up with the toes of the back foot. Maintain a slight knee bend in both knees and, as you push your hips back, allow the bar to travel down the front thigh. The range of movement will be to about the bottom of the knee to mid-shin.

Do these for four sets of 6–8 reps on each leg, working left to left. Then rest and do right to right for the required number of sets and reps.

Finally, choose a bilateral squat movement of your choice. My usual go-to movements for this last exercise are the box squat or front squat. Choose a set/rep plan that meets your needs, but I suggest doing 4–6 sets to finish this workout plan.

I suggest finishing this program with one or two loaded core movements of your choice. My personal choices are the suitcase deadlifts and Zercher lifts from the floor using the old Pavel sets and reps plan of 3–5 sets of 3–5 reps.

Be well and let me know of your progress using this plan.

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