Speed and Agility Training

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Thursday 1 April 2010 @ 12:38 pm

One Legged Squat: Part 1

Speed and agility training: one legged squat

Speed and Agility Training: One Legged Squat

In this two part article I am going to discuss a particular exercise that comes in very handy in your speed and agility training: the 1-legged squat.

The purpose of this article is to explain:

  • Benefits of the 1-legged squat for your speed and agility training program;
  • How to perform the 1-legged squat;
  • Tailoring the 1-legged squat specifically for your speed and agility training;
  • How to modify different parameters in order to keep advancing and avoid plateauing;

The areas that the 1-legged squat can develop are the following:

  • Maximal strength (it will make your legs very strong AND it will do something that 2 legged weight training won’t — increase your stabilizing muscles strength — critical as far as speed and agility training goes)
  • Strong Joints (the particular nature of this exercise means your supportive muscles, joints and tendons are subjected to higher than normal tensions this decreases chance of injury by building strong resilient joints well capable of sustaining the forces that speed and agility training inflicts)
  • Develop Fast Reflexes (performing this exercise correctly will require you to generate strong nervous impulses, this will translate into increased rate of force development, improved speed, quick reflexes and a round butt — I couldn’t resist mentioning this as girls seem to like this particular anatomical part in a guy);

Let me comment a bit on how highly I think of this exercise. You see, last year, I broke my ankle. It required surgery, a titanium plate, six screws and 2 months walking in crutches. I’ll post that x-ray up one of these days just to show you how my ankle looks on the inside. This happened in March 2009. At that time I had 28 inch vertical jump (from standstill) and I didn’t know anyone who could outrun me on the 50 yard dash.   I lived speed and agility training. The accident changed all that, but I knew I could get back up to where I was competitively.  The problem was that at the end of 2010 I was still very weak.  Even though I started to run pretty fast again, I felt it in my bones that my strength was not the same. At the beginning of this year I remembered the 1-legged squat, an exercise I had used previously to increase my vertical jump. Even though I am a big fan of jumping for height (due to my love of basketball) and as such I am familiar with many verticals jump programs, I never did see one that addressed this particular exercise. To make a long story short, 6 months on classic exercises aimed at rebuilding the strength in my left leg left me completely unsatisfied and fearful of permanent damage. I was wrong.  After two months of using the 1-legged squat on and off I saw results, so I got serious and started applying the solid training principles that I knew in order to maximize the results I was getting with this exercise. I also scrapped every other leg  training exercise I had been using and focused exclusively on this one. My left leg is still not 100% strengthwise, but I have accomplished something I hadn’t before, I can now leap stairs four at a time.

This is a short description of the 1-legged squat as it should be done in your speed and agility training:

  1. Slowly lower yourself down to the floor while standing in 1 leg. Your main foot must stay flat on the floor, your heel must be planted.
  2. Descend with perfect tension throughout your body until your hamstring  almost touches your calf.  Your free foot must be held as straight as possible in front of you. Remember to pause at the end of the movement.
  3. Lift yourself up without any bounce

In summary, this article has explained the benefits of the 1-legged squat, how they can benefit your speed and agility training  and a demonstration of the 1-legged squat.

In my next article I will expand on the specifics of performing the 1-legged squat.  I will explain how to perform this exercise specifically for speed and agility training and how you can modify the parameters of the exercise in order to avoid plateauing and keep improving.

All the best,
Damian

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