Sunday, February 3, 2008

One Legged Squat - John Grimek



John Grimek

The one legged squat is employed more often as a feat of strength than it is as a training exercise. One the other hand, many training enthusiasts have employed this form of leg work when they didn’t have enough weight to use in regular squatting, and then substituted this movement – the one legged squat – in their routine. This exercise does make a difference, and you don’t need very much weight in this movement to exercise your legs either.

A Test of Balance

There’s no doubt about it, this one legged variety does require considerable balance for proper performance. Many a lifter who is capable of squatting with three to four hundred pounds may have trouble doing this exercise, of may not be able to do it at all even without any weight.

It’s an exercise that requires good balance and persistent practice before it is finally mastered. And most bodybuilders DON’T include it in their training simply because they find it difficult to do. Of course since most bodybuilders have enough weight to use they feel there is no real purpose for using the one legged variety. But there is. To prove you have good coordination and balance, and once you’ve mastered it, it’s quite simple and provides the trainee with plenty of exercise and variety.

How to Master It

If you have never tried this type of squatting don’t be surprised if you are unable to do it without falling all over the place. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be surprised how terrific it really is, and that you can handle a considerable amount of weight in this exercise.

One way to master it is by holding on to something with one hand for balance while doing the movement. Another way is to stand atop a box, bench or chair and, instead of extending the free leg outward, allow the leg to hang down in front. Surprisingly, this makes considerable difference and simplifies the performance of the exercise. Once you have acquired good form and can do the exercise without losing balance, then fold your arms across your chest and do the exercise in this manner for about 10 to 15 reps. When you can do 15 reps easily, employ a small barbell (not over 50 pounds, preferably less to start) and put it across your shoulders or hold it on your chest during the exercise. Increase the weight only when 15 repetitions become easy to do. However, as a feat of strength, three to five reps can be utilized to good advantage, and increasing the weight as you fell capable.

If dumbbells are preferred to a barbell, these can be held along the sides (along the thighs) or you can hold them at the shoulders, whichever way you find it best or most convenient.

As a Strength Feat

Henry Steinborn, old-time strongman, lifter and wrestler, is still the champion in this exercise (1970), having done well over 200 pounds. Sig Klein, at 154 pounds bodyweight, also lifted a commendable poundage in this movement, and well over bodyweight. Since these two men were always a source of inspiration to me, I always tried to emulate their feats. Eventually, I worked up to 200 pounds in this exercise, but did not try more after that.

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