Looking to build legs the size of tree trunks? While the traditional barbell back squat is a staple for almost any lower body routine, single leg variations are a great way to spice up your workout and add a new element of intensity to spur huge gains. Unlike traditional moves like back squats and deadlifts, single leg variations put much less compression and tension on the spine making them ideal for those that tend to develop frequent back issues. They also offer the added benefit of balance, stability, and core control. That translates to more work for your midsection.
Don’t get the impression that single leg training means doing a partial squat with one foot on a BOSU ball holding a pair of light dumbbells in your hands. While they do offer a stability challenge, one-leg variations are far from easy and still offer a tremendous stimulus for muscle growth. By working one side at a time, you’ll also be able to uncover strength differences from side to side. Evening out your leg strength translates to stronger lifts when you return to the rack. Try adding the following three unilateral exercises into your routine in place of their double-leg counterparts. If you’re very accustomed to performing traditional lifts, you may need to start out slightly lighter and work your way up as you master the balance component.