How to Use a Single Barbell Weight for Leg Exercises

A barbell is designed to hold a weight plate on each of its ends, but it doesn’t mean you have to use two plates when you work out with one. Place a weight on just one end of the barbell to work some of your smaller hip muscles, such as the abductors and adductors, both of which help you move laterally. Don’t worry -- using only half the barbell weight doesn’t mean your workout will be half as good.

Hip Abduction

Lie on your left side with your left thigh and hip and your left forearm on the floor.

Align your left thigh with your torso and bend your left knee back at a right angle.

Extend your right leg in line with your upper body. Hold the unweighted side of the barbell with your right hand. Position the bar above your right leg and press the inside of the weight plate against the sole of your right foot. Set your right hand above the side of your right hip or upper thigh.

Exhale as you raise your right leg vertically against the barbell’s resistance. Keep your leg straight throughout the exercise.

Inhale as you lower your leg under control to the starting position. Perform eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise with both legs, using sufficient weight so your final reps are challenging.

Hip Adduction

Lie on your left side and prop up your torso by leaning on your left forearm.

Extend your legs in line with your upper body, move your right leg backward a bit and then slide your left leg slightly forward and flex your knee. Hold the unweighted end of the barbell with your right hand and place the bar across your left instep. Position the weight plate against the sole of your left foot.

Exhale as your raise your left foot as high as possible while you maintain your flexed knee.

Inhale as you slowly lower your leg back to the floor. Perform eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise with both legs, using sufficient weight so your final reps are challenging.

Warnings

  • Speak with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
  • Stop performing either exercise if you feel pain, particularly in your hips.
 

About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.