Friday, May 22, 2009

The Most Horrible Leg Exercise Ever?

Too often in training we tend to gravitate towards the things we are already good at. Unfortunately, if we always stick to well mastered, familiar exercises that we enjoy, it inevitably results in less challenging workouts and less reason for your body to change. I feel that any program should always have at least one exercise that you're not fond of. The reason being; if you hate something it's a pretty sure sign you need to do more of it!
The Bulgarian Split Squat fits the bill perfectly as pretty much everybody hates it. Particularly the second variation shown on this video with the extra quarter rep in the bottom position. This is one we throw into a program when we're feeling particularly sadistic. Aside from replacing your quads with red hot coals, the exercise has the following the benefits;
Single leg exercises help balance strength between the limbs.
Promotes stability and strengthens the muscles of the foot and ankle.
Increases flexibility in the hips as the exercise involves a deep, loaded stretch of the hip flexor.
Hits the adductors and stabilising muscles of the hip in a way that double leg exercises do not.
So if your feeling brave, try dropping squats for a few weeks and give the Bulgarian Split Squat an honest try. 4 sets of 6-8 reps is good place to start. When you return to squatting you should be both stronger and more flexible.