If you are looking to increase the amount of weight you can squat or deadlift, sometimes the best solution is to look for a great accessory movement to improve the strength of your legs.
Nothing can help you with motivation to squat more often or get to the gym for more leg days than seeing your personal records go up and up, but you will need a well-designed workout plan to make this happen!
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Best Accessory Movement for the Squat and Deadlift
To increase relative hamstring strength and recruitment, athletes can rely on the single leg deadlift!
When performing the single leg deadlift, you work the hamstring muscles and poster chain muscles of the back of your hips and legs extensively. These sets of muscles, especially the gluteals (which is comprised of three muscles), and hamstrings are strongly involved in all running, walking, and jumping activities.
To build perfect glutes you need to target these muscles from several angles with a variety of exercises, and there is no doubt that one of the best movements to do this is the single leg deadlift.
Along with working your posterior chain muscles, the single leg deadlift is exceptional for training your core muscles as well!
The nature of the single leg deadlift exercise means that muscles are exercised in a truly natural way, since most locomotive movement patterns are usually performed one leg at a time.
You can even make this movement more difficult and effective by performing it on a BOSU Ball!
It is impossible to properly perform a single leg deadlift without proper posterior chain and core strength, which means this is one exercise you do not want to miss out on!
Single Leg Deadlift for Overall Leg Strength
One of the key benefits of single leg exercises is that they promote more overall muscle growth and strength, since each leg can be targeted more correctly.
When exercises are done bilaterally, the muscles activated are normally only the “prime movers”.
This is good and useful in many ways, but it leaves much room to be desired for complete leg development.
One of the main overall benefits of the single leg deadlift is that it works not just the primary movers, but also the stabilizers and neutralizers of the leg!
Single Leg Deadlift Benefits for Ankle, Knee and Hip Stability
Stability is your ability to keep your joints aligned properly, and eliminate extraneous movements when exercising.
If your joints are allowed to wander off course while exercising, you will increase the risk of injury and make your movements less economical.
One major benefit of the single leg deadlift is that it demands and develops knee, ankle, and hip stability.
This is beneficial because you can prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your joints, and make nearly all athletic movements easier to perform.
Single Leg Deadlift and Strength Imbalances
Generally, people are slightly left or right-side dominant.
For those that are not active, this imbalance does not really matter.
However, if you play a sport or you are an avid exerciser, then left-to-right strength imbalances can lead to inferior performance or possible injury.
By exercising unilaterally, you will have the opportunity to prove to yourself that both legs are equally strong.
Along with this, if you notice any imbalances, you will be able to formulate a plan to address the imbalances.
Being able to exercise your weaker leg first, and then perform the same number of repetitions with the stronger leg, is one of the great benefits of the single leg deadlift.
You can also consider doing an extra set, or extra reps, on the weak leg; to help you re-establish balance within your body quickly.
The single leg deadlift is one of the most useful lifts that any athlete can perform.
This singular movement can help add muscle mass to your body, correct imbalances, improve your strength and stability, and make you more effective at nearly every athletic movement.
Regardless of your goals with fitness, the single leg deadlift is one movement that you will want to make sure you are not missing out on!