Name a sport, not either lifting sport, that you are only using two arms or two legs at time, go ahead, I’ll wait ....damn near impossible isn’t it?
Hence if you train athletes or are an athlete of any sort, you better be sure there are single arm and single leg variations of exercises in that program.
I want to focus on single leg, specifically single leg power.
Speed kills in all sports, speed & power are things you can separate from each other. Hence, if you’re spending a lot of time on one leg, or using one leg, in your sport and you want to be fast because well...can never have too much speed, then yeah single leg power should be addressed as well as that strength thingy.
Launching from one leg, landing on one leg, jumping laterally on one leg, yes it all comes into play. Of course, I’m going to circle this back to that sport I love of organized grab ass, also known as rugby. Taking off from one foot is a big thing in rugby especially if you play one of the back 3 positions (wings and fullbacks). Those high kicks that those pain in the neck scrum-halfs and fly-halfs are putting up, it's better to take them at their highest point possible, which means getting up in the air and often launching from one leg. Have a look at the video I’ve posted, the guy in the funny helmet (scrum cap) is Liam Williams, nicknamed Bomb Defuser in Chief, because he is so good at collecting these high kicks in rugby, aka bombs or high bombs. Have a look at what he does both going up for the kick and coming down from collecting it. Didn’t see 2 feet used much there did you?
The 2nd video you see me doing a one leg jump, note the strong landing. If my ogre ass can land without shaking the camera/earth too much, you can too. Not getting lazy on this is important because not only can you save yourself a bit of pain by catching yourself when you land, it enables you to get yourself back int he game and make a move, those chasers aren’t going to make themselves miss after all.
2 other things you’ll see in training, with me especially, are single leg landings, which should be introduced early and Heiden jumps (or skater hops). There’s about 1001 variations (ok maybe over estimated there) of these exercises that you can progress and pregress, program them accordingly.
Of course, let’s not forget that in order to have power, you need to have some strength to pair with it. My favorite one leg strength exercises include, Bulgarian split squats, 1-leg squats (either off box or to a box to start), 1-leg RDLs, reverse lunges, and 1-leg hip thrusts.
As you can see, 1-leg power is kind of important for sports. Heck, it’s even important for those that are getting older. One thing that goes down hill in older adults is power, and when it gets bad enough, you end up doing one of those cartoonish slip and falls on the ice. Best to be getting everyone a bit of single leg power in that case. Find what variations are working for you, both in landing & taking off, as well as going in different planes.
Hopefully this can help someone out with their training or programming and give you that little extra. Any other thoughts, questions or things I missed? Feel free to comment or hit me up. Thanks for reading and have a good Thursday!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS