T Nation

Leg Day


I have devised my own leg training strategy to help even out the strength disparity in my legs, I would really appreciate a quick critique.

A. 1-leg squat 5 x a rep shy of failure
(As of now I only get a couple of real reps)

B. Single leg press 3 x 8

c. One-leg back extension 4 x 6

d. Frankenstein leg curls 4 x 6

e. single leg calf raise 2 x 15

All sets are done with weak leg first then strong leg with no rest in between legs, and 60 seconds rest between sets. Tempo is smooth with lowering phase slower than lifting.


1st: Depending on how much of a disparity between legs, consider using additional (or higher) weights when doing the weaker leg. You can also choose to do more reps on your weaker leg, or both.

2nd: Consider doing Phase I of Ian King's Limping (or at least have a read through). Day 1 is mostly Quad dominant single leg stuff, and Day 2 is mostly Hip Dominant single leg stuff. It worked wonders. If your looking for closing the gap in leg strength you won't have to do all 12 weeks (though you may want to for other goals).


The overall disparity isn't too bad but it is certainly noticeable.

I considered doing a limping type program but as of now due to some occasional lower back pain plus some shoulder impingement I am staying away from putting weight on my back for the time being.

Thanks for the suggestions though I just wanted to make sure my routine looked balanced.


If your laying off heavy squats and DLs because of your back Phase I of limping is perfect. It's all bodyweight stuff with the exception of light squats at the end (I garuntee 25s on each side of the bar will seem heavy).


Research has shown that unilateral exercises lead to loss of bilateral strength over time.

While placing a greater focus on individual leg strength is fine for correcting strength imbalances beteen right ad left side, beware that an EXCLUSIVE focus on this protocol for extended periods of time have been shown to lead to noticeable decreases in bilateral strength for the same exercises, due to less muscle fibers recruited.

This means that after following the routine you presented for 8 weeks, it's to be expected that once you go back to 2 legged squats or 2 legged extensions/curls, the strength for the 2 legged version might be less than the sum of the two single leg versions (2 legs

My advice would be to keep it half bilateral and half unilateral exercises to prevent these bilateral strength losses.


Diesel23: Since you have some information in this area, do you know if training unilaterally is beneficial in terms of athletic performance? My leg mass is decent right now compared to my upper body mass but I would like to gain some functional strength while correcting some imbalances. Do you think training one leg at a time would be detrimental long term to athletic performance or not?



Unilateral training is extremely important to athletic performance. How often in athletics are you legs positioned right beside one another? This is one of the reasons that we see so many groin, hip flexor, and hamstring strains.


Eric: I read in the "Mr. Spine" article that Stuart McGill advised to use one-legged squats over a leg press for example as it lead to a better transfer to performance due to the motor pattern being trained. I am simply curious as to how long I should train using only this method before perfromance is threatened. I think I may hit up CT with this question later.



Where has it been shown "that unilateral exercises lead to loss of bilateral strength over time"?

I didn't know that and would like to read more about it.