Why One Leg Is Better Than Two

One leg is better than two.

Why have I jumped on the single leg training bandwagon? Because it think it builds stronger more powerful hockey players who are more resistant to injury that is why. Because I don’t want my athletes spending 90-minutes a day lifting weights. We are not trying to just put in time, we are trying to maximize returns in minimum time. If I can do one exercise that builds strength and stability, then why would I chose to do one exercise for strength and another exercise for stability?

I have not abandoned all bilateral training – I still love the front squat, split squats, hex bar deadlifts and hang cleans. But I think if you are not doing some single leg work in your off-ice hockey training program that you are missing a huge opportunity to maximize your returns.

When you train with a single leg you are working the entire kinetic chain – your big leg muscles may be doing the work –glutes, quads, hamstrings, but you have to stabilize at the ankle, knee, hip and torso. You may argue that you have to stabilize when doing a barbell squat as well and that is true.

Let’s do an experiment. Stand up on both feet – your stabilizers are working to keep you in an upright position. Now lift up your right foot – are your stabilizers working harder? Sure they are. So it is degrees of challenge.

Now think of hockey, whether you are a skater or a goalie, you very rarely have your weight equally balanced on both feet with a neutral stance during a dynamic part of play. Agreed that yourready position will have you balanced and neutral, but I am talking about when you are fighting in the corners or making a kick save.

Add to this (which should be enough to convince you already) the fact that you can basically reduce by 50% the load you carry on your spine when doing single leg barbell work and that makes it even more of a no brainer. Remember you are not a power lifter, the numbers don’t matter – results on the ice matter. So instead of two leg squatting 225lbs, you can rear foot elevated (Bulgarian split squat) 110lbs and get more stabilization, less spinal compression and balance out the strength in your legs (we all have one leg that is naturally stronger).

Here are three of my favourite single leg strengthening exercise for hockey players:


Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat


Single Leg Squat to Tap


Single Leg Squat Off Bench




Leave A Reply (1 comment so far)

  1. Wade MacQuarrie
    12 years ago

    Single leg makes alot of sense for hockey players, I also do some single arm work for similar benefits…

Learn more…

hockey goalie training