A few weeks ago I made a blog post called Two Single Leg Challenges that shared…wait for it…two single leg challenges.
I’ve had quite a few people write in to me that they tried the challenges and enjoyed them, so I thought I’d share a few other single leg challenges that I’ve been using.
See, I’ve been dealing with some shoulder issues the past month and haven’t been able to do much upper body training at all. For me though, training is like a therapy and I feel much better about life when I get a workout in for the day, so I’ve changed my lower body training so that I can train 4-5 days a week: more for mental than anything if I’m being honest. I just love to train, so when I can’t do upper body, I change my lower body training so that I can train more often.
Thing is, high frequency lower body training can be tricky because heavy deadlifts, squats, and lunges can take their toll on your lower back and knees. For that reason, I’ve been doing two heavy days a week and then 2-3 lighter days. And it’s been working like a charm.
I almost always do trap bar deadlifts on Mondays, and I’ve been doing heavy Bulgarian split squats on Wednesday or Thursday.
The other 2-3 training days I do lighter stuff like bodyweight Bulgarian split squats, reverse sled drags, and skater squats. I also do non lower back intensive posterior chain stuff on most days: stability ball leg curls, glute ham raises, hip thrusts, and single leg hip thrusts.
My workouts are pretty short. An hour on heavy days, and 30 minutes on lighter days. On the lighter days, I’ve doing a lot of single leg challenges with just my bodyweight or a light weight vest. I shared two of the challenges here, and here are two more.
1. 200 Rep Challenge
This is a brutal challenge where the goal is to complete 200 reps (100 per leg) in under 6 minutes. Start by doing 30 per leg, then 25, then 20, then 15, then 10, resting as needed. Here I’m completing the challenge with a 30 pound weighted vest. Holy burn!
To modify this challenge to make it a bit easier, do 50 reps per leg instead of 100, breaking it down into mini sets of 20, 15, 10, and 5.
2. Tabata Bulgarian Split Squats
Here you do 20 seconds of Bulgarian split squats followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of eight rounds. Alternate legs each set, so four sets per leg. Strive to get at least 12 reps per set.
To modify the challenge to make it more manageable, increase the rest intervals and gradually shorten them over time.
Note: Some fitness professionals take issue with calling something a Tabata that doesn’t mimic the exact Tabata protocol. I totally get that, but you have to realize that I write more for regular people than trainers, and as such, I prefer to use terminology that people understand. I truly don’t care what an exercise or a workout is called. So this isn’t a true Tabata, but for ease of use, that’s what I’ll call it. You can call it whatever you’d like, but give it a shot.
I recently hit personal bests on both trap bar deadlifts and Bulgarian split squats, so I’m very happy with that despite being bummed about not being able to do an upper body stuff.