Should I only use single-leg lifts?

Only single-leg training?

You know, I could manipulate the hell out of this product.

I’m pretty sure I could lie, steal and cheat my way to a ridiculous pay day.

I could tell you that all you need is single-leg training, providing you with a handful of references (and excluding others) that might even convince you that is the case.

But I’m not.

You see, I can tell you with 100% honesty that single-leg training is a powerful tool.  Properly executed single-leg lifts can improve our single-leg strength, stability, and build a better foundation for sports performance.

But it’s not the only tool in our toolbox.

Even after reading the pertinent research, even after outlining all the progressions I use, even after I created an entire product that revolves around single-leg training…

…I’m still going to use big, compound, bilateral lifts in my programming.

When we write effective programs for clients and athletes, we examine not only their needs, but their goals.

Single-leg lifts are great for develeloping stabilizing muscles, and strengthening certain hard-to-reach muscle groups.

But at the same time, they simply aren’t as effective at developing strength and power when compared to big lifts like squats, deads, etc.

Is this a weird post to put up, especially since I just created an entire product on single-leg training?


But I want you to know that I created this product without bias.  I’m not going to tell you that single-leg lifts are the be-all, end-all of training.

Do they have a place in most people’s programs?  Yes, absolutely.

Can they help improve your health and performance?  Yes.

But they aren’t the only thing I use in my programs.

If you’re interested in what single-leg training can do for you, be sure to check out my new product The Single-Leg Solution.  For the next week, you can purchase the product for 20% off the standard retail price.

Stay strong



Leave Comment

  1. Mike,
    It would be interesting to see a future post or series of posts detailing your thoughts on
    1. What coaches dropping bilateral squat variations may actua;;y be leaving on the table by dumping them from the toolbox, and why those just can't be had from single-leg work only.
    2. The sentiment "Train the deadlift and maintain the squat."
    3. If there comes a point for particular goals where steadily driving up squat poundages (or poundages in any lift) over time is needed, or if simply maintaining those levels and using the freed-up time to focus in more on other areas is likely the way to go. For example, a powerlifter obviously has a reason to want to continue driving up numbers, as would a general client specifically interested in strength. But while some coaches say that "you can never be too strong," I have seen a few others propose that for certain sports or other specific goals, you may only need to attain a given benchmark, and once you possess that level of the given ability, then the added stress on the body structures and on recovery capacity may not fare well upon a return on investment or risk:reward ration analysis.
    Personally I feel that there is no reason to drop the free squat or simply have it take a backseat to the deadlift and that any trainee who doesn't have any major permanent limitations or contraindications should strive to continually work on optimizing their performance in the bilateral squat. In fact, it would seem that as full a ROM as possible on a free squat performed with optimal mechanics and progressively increasing loading over time can only bode well for joint health and creating a robust back and set of knees.
    It seems that these days people are just itching to find research trying to "prove" that we should forsake bilateral squats or looking for reasons as to why it's run its course, and I just don't understand why the mob is coming for this lift, even if there's nothng inherently scientific about why I still embrace it in every instance where a client can properly handle it.
    And on one final note, Coach Boyle had another recent post linking to someone else commenting about the so-called demise of the bilateral squat. I need no convincing as to the value of single-leg work, but much like the sentiment in this post of yours, I still see the bilateral squat as a valuable member of my training tool box.

Leave a Reply

Back to All Posts