Work one limb at a time, sometimes

Work one limb at a time, sometimes

Today’s workout was leg day.  Not my favorite workout, but I am trying to put everything I have into ALL of my workouts, and your legs are half of your body.  So to have a symmetrical physique and also for many other reasons, it is necessary to hit legs just as hard as any other body part.  In thinking of new and different exercises I could do for this weeks workout,  I looked at various workout routines and got some new ideas.

It was not an entirely different workout, as you can click here to take a look.  The main difference lied in the leg extensions and leg curls.  Both of these exercise were performed using one leg at a time.  It’s pretty much standard when working these exercises to use both of your legs.  You can lift a lot more weight, and hey – it’s how you were probably taught how to do it.  It works great when you use both legs, but there are also inherent problems if you always do it this way.

Usually your dominant side will be your strongest side.  So if you are right handed, usually your right arm will be stronger and slightly bigger than your left, and same goes for legs.  This is the case with me, as I always feel a little stronger when doing such exercises as single arm bicep curls.  I usually start with my left arm first, so that way when I hit failure, I know how many I need to get on my right arm.  After all, I don’t want to do more reps on my right side, even though I could, and end up with disproportional arms.  I think my right arm is a bit bigger as it is.

One of your legs is probably stronger than the other, even if it’s just a bit.  Since you are probably so used to doing exercises with both legs, such as leg press, leg extensions and leg curls, you may not even realize the difference.  That’s where single-leg leg extensions and leg curls can be a huge benefit.

When I was performing the leg extensions at the beginning of the workout, I noticed right off the bat that I was concentrating better when performing one leg at a time.  I would look at that one leg, and watch it contract as the weight was coming up.  The mind-muscle connection is a very important factor.  After completing my sets, I definitely had a better pump than I normally do when I do it with both legs together.  I did notice that, although I got the same number of reps each leg, they were a bit easier on my right leg.  This shows I have a slight muscle imbalance in my legs.  Same story when I did single-leg leg extensions.  This is a great way to even out your muscle imbalances.

While you do not need to perform single arm or single leg sets every time you work out, I would highly recommend doing this every three or four weeks.  It will help your muscle imbalances as well as change up your routine a bit.  Same can be done for almost every body part whether it be biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs or chest.  Many, many exercises can be performed using a single limb, and it will definitely benefit you in the long run to do this here and there to keep everything symmetrical.

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite single limb exercises are.

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