One of my favorite ways for athletes to build the strength in their lower body is through single leg isolation work such as the single leg hip thrust. This exercise helps you build balance and single leg coordination as an athlete, no matter your sport. Keep reading for how and why to add this drill into your next lower body training day.
WHY DO THE SINGLE LEG HIP THRUST?
The single leg hip thrust helps you work on a variety of posterior chain muscles through the hips, hamstrings, glutes, and core. As an athlete you’re constantly moving through a variety of unpredictable patterns on the field and court. As you cut through defensemen, it’s easy to become unbalanced or maintain your power. That’s why training on just one leg allows you to build more balanced strength and also get a better idea of where your weaknesses or lack of mobility may be hiding.
The single leg hip thrust makes a great activation drill since it really fires up the muscles of the hamstrings and glutes. It makes a world of difference in your lower body workout to get the nervous system working first, before you go and add a ton of load on with movements like the squat or deadlift. This should be helpful to translate into your vertical jump and sprint training.
How to do single leg hip thrusts:
To set up for single leg hip thrusts grab a bench or box to anchor you, then lie down with your back on the floor. Make sure you’re close so that the box or bench so that it’s only about a foot away from your hamstrings. Plant one foot on the bench, while extending the other leg to point straight up towards the ceiling.
Next plant your shoulders into the floor, squeezing the glutes to lift the hips off the floor. Slowly lower the hips down to just tap the floor before powering back up. Think about making each rep strong and powerful with an easier recovery.
I recommend using this as an activation drill after a full warm-up before getting into your lower body training. Aim for about 3 rounds of 10 repetitions on each leg.
Ultimately your programming should reflect whatever point you’re at in the season, and your overall goals for that cycle of training.
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