Play on One Leg – Train on One leg

When I saw the picture of the field hockey players on the left it made me immediately think about why we train the way we train. I am an advocate of single leg squats and unilateral & reciprocal training exercises of the lower extremity (for that matter the upper body also). When you consider the forces that player must attenuate on one leg in stopping and starting it makes sense to train unilaterally. Also consider the phenomenon of bilateral transfer in doing work with one limb. Bilateral transfer refers to the phenomenon of improvement in function of one limb by working on the opposite limb. This is based on the Contralateral function of the brain hemispheres in controlling movement through both cortical and sub cortical impulses that enable movement to be transferred from one side of the body to the other side. That does not mean that regular squats are not part of the routine, they are but when and where in the program is the key. Single leg squats, lunges and step-ups and step downs are the constants because essentially in most sports the movement is off of one leg and onto the other leg in multiple directions and multiple planes. The strength work must be closely coupled with Multi Dimensional Speed and Agility work to add the speed element to the high force element. This also has an implication for testing. We need to test strength on one leg, stability on one leg and the ability to reduce force on one leg. If an athlete is deficient then they must be given remedial work to remedy the deficiency and their actual training drills and exercises must be modified. If not the risk of injury rises significantly as well as ingraining incorrect movement patterns.


At 1/22/07, 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post to print out and put in strategic places in office/gym and to email to coaches.


At 1/22/07, 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What test do you use to evaluate the ability to reduce force on one leg?

At 1/22/07, 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ Im not Vern, but I would say a good test would be walking. We don't walk on two legs.

At 1/22/07, 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would walking be an assessment for force absorption at a sport intensity?

At 1/23/07, 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A horizontal hop and stick test should give an accurate measure of the bodies ability to absorb and control force. You can expand this to be directional and add in rotational forces as well.

At 1/24/07, 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would anyone like to give me their opinion why some athletes (I see it most in basketball players) are great 2 leg jumpers and only average 1 leg jumpers while others may be great 1 leg jumpers and only average 2 leg jumpers? I see this despite the same training program. Are these learned movement patterns from when a child? I am not doubting the importance of training on 1 leg. I am just commenting as to how some athletes when asked to see how high they can jump and reach will either take a big run and jump off 1 leg or take a short hop and jump off 2 legs. When ask them to do the reverse it is often easy to see why they chose the method that they did. Anybody have any thoughts for this 2 legged jumper?



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