16 year old rising rugby star, Tanika Bonneville, training out of #ElevationFitness and playing for Team Canada U18 girls. Is putting the primary focus on single-leg training with a few unilateral drills to help build balance strength so she can sprint, change direction and produce force equally on both side of her body.
Unilateral exercises are more realistic for athletes:
To boost your athletic or sporting performance, you need to work with the right tools. When it comes to athletic movement, a couple of key patterns stand out: – athletic movements are made up of reciprocal motion to provide power and speed – the limbs work in opposite action to each other. – When in motion, sports are played on one leg most of the time. You may have both legs on the ground at some point but you’ll always have the majority of your weight distributed to one side. These observations make it clear that the importance of single-leg strength, in particular, cannot be overstated. Despite this, many sports training programs are built around heavy compound multi-lateral exercises, like back squats, deadlifts, cleans and snatches. The problem with these movements as they relate to sports performance is that the body isn’t used to pushing off the ground with two legs at the same time. For athletic performance, training one leg at a time is far more closely mimics the things you do on the field.
If you are training for sports performance, unilateral training will improve your on field performance far more efficiently than traditional bilateral compound movements. It works more muscles, balances your strength, hits your core, strengthen and stabilizes your spine, improve your balance and enhance your speed and agility.
Rear-foot elevated split squat: purpose – develop strength in the lower body, improve balance strength, strengthen stabilization within the ankle, knee and hip.
Resisted bounding: purpose – develop ground force reaction, balance and increase power through the lower body.
Broad jump bound to sprint: purpose – increase max power output through the entire body and top end speed.
Written by: @soamaonstregthcoach