Single Leg Strength and Lowest System Load

Single Leg Strength and Lowest System Load

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “lowest system load” a lot lately. This is an idea that has always been on the forefront at @bodybyboyle for our athletes but has pushed its way further into my personal programming. As I get older (2 weeks to 30) and I travel more for work I’ve found it less and less desirable to deal with heavy bilateral loading. Soreness, longer recovery and injury risk all being deterring factors.

People become defensive at the idea of lowest system load and the thought of switching out their sacred exercise choice for something else. To quote @chweingroff “The concept doesn’t say use light things; it says use the lightest implement possible to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”

The idea is about cost. If you can use less load for the same result why would you not want that? Why would you pay $3.49 for a Big Mac if it’s on the dollar menu?

Over time chronic “cost” adds up and at some point you have to pay back into the system for recovery to avoid breakdown/overtraining. So for both athletes and gen. pop who are managing numerous stressors, movement limitations and injuries keeping the cost low seems like a good idea. This will usually give us an opportunity to spare the spine and the nervous system and often train more frequently because the cost of each training session will be lower.

Although I still Double KB Front Squat and Trapbar Deadlift the majority of my lower body training is unilateral. I’ve the found transitioning to primarily unilateral lifts that I am healthier and relatively much stronger. I’ve maintained my bilateral numbers but have greatly increased unilateral strength with less of the daily aches and pains that can come from consistent squatting and deadlifting.

In the video above I single leg deadlift 250 lbs for 5 reps on each leg. I’m certain that my 1 rep max trapbar deadlift is somewhere around 450-470 right now.

Always ask the question: “Can I get this done with less?” Less load and less risk.

If you are interested in the concept of Lowest System Load check out Charlie’s article: