The Hybrid Single Leg Exercise
by Matt Hodges
09 March 2012
You want to make your legs stronger? The Hybrid Single Leg Exercise is a great one to try.
You essentially get two exercises in one:
- Reverse lunge
- Single leg Romanian deadlift (RDL)
Many of you strength athletes will probably ask;
“Why should I try this, I squat and deadlift already. Do I need to do any other lower body exercises?”
The Hybrid Single Leg Exercise will hammer your hamstrings. What’s more it will also challenge your conditioning, a couple of sets will more than likely leave you breathless!
What are the benefits to performing the exercise?
- It involves the lateral sub-system;
Challenging the glute medius, adductors and opposing quadratus lumborum in synchrony, as shown in the above diagram.
This makes it a great exercise for those participating in any sports where force is transferred onto one leg at any point, as it will improve hip and pelvic stability. Movements such as squats and deadlifts are essential to improve max strength, power and speed, however single leg exercises are equally important in achieving athletic prowess on the field, court or track.
- Performing the exercise in the order of reverse lunge followed by single leg deadlift trains acceleration into deceleration, perfect for replicating sports type movements.
A word of caution
This is an advanced exercise and correct technique is essential in order to gain its maximum benefit. Go light on the load to begin with; in fact a few sets at bodyweight would probably be best to get accustomed with the movement.
Aim for approximately 4-6 reps per side, which is in fact 8-12 reps on each leg.
You will perform the reverse lunge by taking a stride back with your left leg, without touching your knee on the floor you will pause for a second, then accelerate back to the starting position. You will then perform the single leg RDL by hinging through the right hip, allowing the left leg to swing backwards like a pendulum. That is one rep. Perform an additional 3-5 reps to complete the set, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Squats and deadlifts will always be essential exercises for athletes, however single leg exercises must also be performed to develop a well balanced body. The reverse lunge to 1-leg RDL is worth a try as part of your lower body accessory routine.