5 Best Single-Leg Exercises for Strength and Stability

Single-leg exercises can improve your fitness in a way that two-leg exercises like squats just can’t do. Learn the benefits of unilateral leg exercises, plus the best single-leg exercises to improve your strength and balance.

Benefits of Single-leg Exercises

They fix muscle imbalances.

Is one of your legs bigger or stronger than the other is? Doing single-leg exercises can help fix that imbalance. If you train the weaker leg more, it will eventually be as strong as the other leg.

They improve balance and stability.

Single-leg exercises force your leg and core muscles to work harder to support your body. This improves your balances and stability.

They help you build leg muscles fast.

Research shows that unilateral training promotes greater muscle stimulation. Therefore, single-leg exercises may be your best option if you want to tone your thighs.

Learn the benefits of unilateral leg exercises, plus the best single-leg exercises to improve your strength and balance.

The Best Single-Leg Exercises

1. Step-Ups

This is one of the best exercises for improving balance. It also doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your knees.

How to perform:

  • Stand in front of a step up box or a sturdy chair.
  • Place the right leg on the box. Keep the right knee bent at 90 degrees.
  • Lift the left leg off the floor and place it on the box as well.
  • Return the left leg to the floor and then raise it again.
  • Complete reps for one leg before switching legs.

2. Lunges

Lunges are the most popular single-leg exercise. Do different variations to improve balance and strength.

How to perform:

  • Stand upright and keep your feet hip-width apart.
  • Stride forward with the right leg. Bend both knees and lower your body until the rear knee almost touches the floor. Make sure the front knee doesn’t extend past the toes. Keep your torso upright throughout.
  • Slowly rise as you pull back the front leg to starting position.
  • Repeat this movement with the same leg before alternating.

3. Single Leg Hops

Other than improving your balance and stability, this exercise will build your explosiveness.

How to perform:

  • Stand upright and lift the left leg off the floor.
  • Keep the right knee slightly bent and then make huge hops forward until you are tired.
  • If you have a weaker leg, strengthen it by doing more hops.
  • Lastly, doing backward hops can help you gain more balance.

4. Single Leg Glute Bridges

Even though glute bridges mainly target the glutes, they also activate your hamstrings.

How to perform:

  • Lie face up and bring your heels close to the butt. Keep both hands on the floor.
  • Lift the right leg off the floor and keep it straight.
  • Lift your butt off the floor as high as possible using the support of our left leg.
  • Squeeze your butt at the top position for two seconds and then lower it to starting position and repeat the movement.

5. Split Squats

This exercise is extremely rewarding. It activates the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How to perform:

  • Stand a step away from a chair or bench, facing away from it.
  • Lift the left leg backward and place it on the chair.
  • Slowly bend the right knee until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your torso upright.
  • Slowly rise to starting position. Complete reps for one leg before alternating.

Images via Thinkstock

39 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

thanks for posting

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Marija M
Marija M8 months ago

tks for sharing

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Magdalen B
Magdalen B8 months ago

Playing the little old lady card for some of these. Used to find genuflexions east.

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Ingrid A
Past Member 8 months ago

thank you

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Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

Thanks.

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Martina R
Martina Rimbaldo8 months ago

thanks

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Amanda M
Amanda McConnell8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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