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Kit_L

Single Leg Squat ("SLS") Progressions

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I have cut and posted a new video on YouTube; click on the link below:

Here is an expanded and annotated description of the contents, adapted from the description I wrote for the clip itself, but then I wondered how many people actually read these? Anyhow, please have a look at the video, and all comments gratefully received.

This excerpt from a recent Monkey Gym workshop shows a combination of techniques (some from Coach Sommer, and one from Steve Maxwell), with a few refinements of our own.

The progressions are:

1. Two leg "deck" squat (essential for older folk to master before attempting any of the more difficult moves: many people find rolling backwards frightening. We use a 'crash mat' in classes so that this fear immediately dissipates—so make sure you have something comfortable to roll back on.)

2. Single leg negative (this is the core movement, done eccentrically, under as much control as you can. Most people find that controlling the last few inches difficult; this is a matter of patterning, activation the glutes in this part of the range of movement, and strength: modern humans are very weak in this essential muscle group).

3. Single leg deck squat (here, momentum helps you out of the bottom position, where people get stuck. If this is you, practise the next element, and return to this one).

4. Timed holds, just up from bottom position (this is Steve Maxwell's contribution: this has been the most useful element for me personally, together with weighted Cossack squats).

We talk about the use of power bands, and the necessity of perfecting negative elements under control, before attempting full versions—this advice is given because we are 40--50% stronger in eccentric contractions (here, lowering) than we are in concentric contractions. This fact simply means that negatives are inherently safer, too.

As well, I discuss the role of the progression elements in helping to correct ankle pronation, and we get a graphic view of an attendee working hard to achieve this. Thanks Pat!

The use of blocks under the heel as training tools and the fundamental role ankle flexibility plays in this exercise is demonstrated and broken down for you. John demonstrates this perfectly.

Now to sets and reps: I recommend training these elements twice a week, in this way:

Speed skater squats: done the way I demonstrate, work up to five sets of 30" holds

Cossack squats: work your weaker leg first, and only match the reps with your stronger leg. 5 sets x 5 reps, maintaining perfect ankle alignment and going as deep as possible

Once you feel comfortable with both of these, then try super-setting them: SSS followed by alternate legs Cossack Squats: you will definitely know where your glutes are the next day!

Two leg deck squats: 5 sets x 10 reps;

Single leg negatives: these can be increased in difficulty by increasing the weight you hold; 5 x 5, in any case

Timed hold: start with five seconds x 5 on the weaker leg, and just match this on the stronger one, and do five sets of this element, too.

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Hi Kit,

Yesterday I worked on speed skater squats as 10 seconds on each leg then rest for 10 seconds. 5 sets. Then did cossacks 5 x 5 each leg switching legs each set. Finished with 2 sets of 10 deck squats (2 leg) and some practice with the 5 second holds in the bottom pistol position ala Maxwell. Glutes, groin, and hammies are all pretty smoked today but joints feel good.

When you typed this portion I qoute below there are 5 separate "activities". Did you intend all 5 of these activities to be done 2x a week? Its a large volume of work but I need the practice...just wanted to clarify before upping the activity next session! Thanks for any help:) The deck squats were great fun, what an awesome exercise for general agility.

Speed skater squats: done the way I demonstrate, work up to five sets of 30" holds

Cossack squats: work your weaker leg first, and only match the reps with your stronger leg. 5 sets x 5 reps, maintaining perfect ankle alignment and going as deep as possible

Once you feel comfortable with both of these, then try super-setting them: SSS followed by alternate legs Cossack Squats: you will definitely know where your glutes are the next day!

Two leg deck squats: 5 sets x 10 reps;

Single leg negatives: these can be increased in difficulty by increasing the weight you hold; 5 x 5, in any case

Timed hold: start with five seconds x 5 on the weaker leg, and just match this on the stronger one, and do five sets of this element, too.

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