Single-Leg Box Squats
Fitness is becoming a trend nowadays, yet sometimes with all the complex and expensive equipment advertised everywhere, we forget the essential accessibility of sports for all people. In fact, you don’t need that latest machine or pricey gym pass to sculpt the body you wish for. Single-leg box squats prove this point by showing you the simple fact: you can train effectively using just a carton box. Follow this article to get to know how to perform single-leg box squats, how to incorporate them in your workout routine, and how to adjust them to your body condition.
Why do you need single-leg box squats?
Practicing the single-leg squat, or any squat in fact, is an efficient way of sculpting the legs and glutes, strengthening the core muscles and increasing flexibility. This is a perfect option for athletes of all sports and skill levels, but it’s especially beneficial for runners. This exercise works on hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and calves, which are exactly the same muscles utilized while running.
The single-leg squat looks like a basic exercise, but it isn’t a walk in the park. While this exercise works exclusively using your body weight, it delivers a lot of results on various parts of your body. As mentioned before, you don’t need any additional equipment to perform this exercise, so you can do it whenever and wherever you want. Incorporating squats into your exercise routine will strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes (2). It is also very productive for your core, as it activates a number of muscles in it. Single-leg squats, aside from strengthening the quadriceps, help eliminate any asymmetry or imbalances between limbs. In addition, they improve proximal hip stability, proprioception and balance.
Last but not the least, quadricep’s weakness is one of the most widespread causes of anterior knee pain. People recovering from injuries and even surgery often struggle to regain girth and functional quad strength. If this is your case, you might use single leg training in order to optimize patellofemoral mechanics and knee function.
Since many people will not be able to perform a pistol squat with good form, the single leg box squat is a great alternative to improve quadriceps strength and teach proper form.
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How to perform this exercise?
Get a box, a bench, or a chair. Basically, anything you can sit down on. The lower the object for you, the more difficult the exercise will be. For most people, a 40cm-high box will allow someone to squat deep enough for your glutes and hamstrings to become parallel with the floor, which is necessary to perform a proper squat.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Your back must be upright and naturally arched. Your arms must be held straight in front of you at shoulder level for balance. Raise one foot off the floor in front of your body, and lower your body until only your glutes rest on the box for one or two seconds. Squeeze the glutes and then return to the start position by driving through the heels and hips. Pay attention to keeping your back straight and chest elevated.
Perform 8-10 repetitions on each side, and repeat for 2-3 sets.
Most people find this exercise quite challenging in the beginning. You may find that you cannot control your body, your ankle begins to wobble, your knee rotates and your upper body sways. In this case, try balancing for 30 seconds on one leg before you try performing the exercise. By starting with this exercise, you will begin developing the smaller muscles devoted to stabilization. You will find your balance improves tremendously over time. At the same time, do basic two-legged squats to build your lower body strength.
If you want to make your squat more challenging, try to decrease the height of your object, increase the cadence, or shift to more complex variations of single-leg squat called pistol squat and goblet squat.
To sum up, single leg box squats is a great option to power up a number of crucial muscles of your body. Remember to follow a proper protein-rich (4), and fiber-rich (3) diet like the Mediterranean or Keto diets, in order to achieve maximal results. Also, remember to drink plenty of water (1) before and after your training session.
Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Dehydration (1997, medlineplus.gov)
- Single-leg Box Squat (2016, menshealth.com)
- The impact of soluble dietary fibre on gastric emptying, postprandial blood glucose and insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)