Single Leg Exercise Progressions

The emphasis on unilateral or single leg exercise is beginning to take hold in strength and conditioning circles. In reality most sports depend on producing strength, power and stability on one leg — with the exception of rowers, power lifters and Olympic lifters who compete bilaterally using both legs. Thai boxers of course spend a lot of time on one-leg and generating force from staggered stances, so training unilaterally can make a dramatic difference to your fighting.

Begin with bodyweight on all of these movements and progress holding dumbells for extra load. Priming the movements with body weight as part of your warm up also teaches your body to stabilise efficiently before loading with extra resistance.
Begin with 3-4 weeks of split squats, then move on to 3-4 weeks of rear foot elevated split squats. Then move onto box pistol squats, then platform pistol squats before finally pistol squats.

For each exercise use a 3-4 week progression building from 3 sets of 8 reps the first week, adding 2 more reps each week, until you are completing 3 sets of 12 or 14 reps in the final week before moving on to the next exercise variant.

Side note: platform pistol squats are much better than pistol squats on the floor if you’re adding extra weight with dumbbells and weighted vests because it allows you to keep better form.

This video will help get you started training your legs unilaterally, and my next article will delve further into this element of your training as a Thai boxer.

By | 2017-04-28T10:30:01+00:00 June 10th, 2013|Mobility, Motor Patterns, Strength, Training routine, Video Post|4 Comments


  1. News | Super Fight Series June 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    […] Link: Single Leg Exercise Progressions | Heatrick Strength & Conditioning for MuayThai Don Heatrick posted a link to SUPER FIGHT SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP's wall: Check out this video on how to progress single-leg exercises. […]

  2. […] the last article I posted a video showing a progressive series of unilateral (single limb) leg exercises, and this week I’ll explain why they feature in my Thai boxer’s strength and […]

  3. […] I've gone into more detail and given a video in my post Single Leg Exercise Progressions. […]

  4. […] This lift adds the muscle building volume to the preceding deadlift strength exercise. Being a suspended squat, you can sit back into the exercise to allow greater glute and hamstring contribution. You can also easily trim the amount of arm assistance to achieve the required intensity for the given number of reps. Being a unilateral exercise, the single leg suspension squat also builds stability on one leg, a must for Thai boxers, and is another progression toward full pistol squats. […]

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