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Single Leg Squats to Improve Strength and Stability

Single leg bench squats are a great way to build strength and stability of the lower extremity. When performed properly, they engage muscles in the hip, thigh and ankle in a dynamic and synergistic fashion. In the game of soccer, an athlete is on one foot more often than two and training the body that way will be more beneficial to the player to become more powerful, quicker and more stable, preventing injuries to the knee and ankle.  Perform the exercises for 6-12 repetitions, alternating sides for 3-5 sets. Utilize the exercises for off season training near the end of your session when the legs are fatigued or a as part of your in-season program at the end of practice. The keys to this exercise are:

  • Sitting back with the chest up and softly sitting down to the bench
  • Lowering the body until the thigh is parallel to the ground and the knee is slightly over the toe
  • Maintaining good vertical alignment of the shoulder, knee and foot (If the knee buckles toward the midline, this could mean a weak gluteus medius muscle. This muscle has been found to be crucial to preventing ACL injuries.)
  • Try to stand back up without using the momentum from the arms

If the athlete can not perform the exercise properly, they can sit down using one leg and stand up using two until strength gains improve.


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