For people with hip control problems, valgus collapse (inward collapse of knee) can cause dysfunction and long-term injury. Alignment is a key factor in squatting, lunging, and other single leg exercises. I have found it difficult to get into some of these exercises when people lack control in their hips or even have collapsing arches (pronation). The loaded single leg stance is a good way to prepare the body with emphasis on lower limb alignment and control. By holding this position, we are really able to feel the quadricep and glutes of the stance leg, and it’s often enough to allow people to connect with these areas. I think often we come across people who have stability issues, but we don’t put them in positions long enough to truly stabilize and see positive results.
How to complete this exercise properly:
- Pick a leg to challenge and begin to balance
- Bend the stance leg at the knee and hip and sink down into a lower position
- Reach the non-stance leg backwards and focus on keeping the weight on the heel of the stance foot
- In terms of arm positioning, use the opposite arm from the stance leg to raise up into a running position. While the other arm is pulled backward
- Maintain this position for the desired period of time and then switch sides
- Add a dumbbell or kettlebell in the goblet position to increase difficulty, or increase time
Note: During the hold, really focus on squeezing the quad and glutes, and maintain this squeeze throughout the exercise. A slight forward lean will actually cause you to feel the posterior chain more and take some emphasis off of the quads, which we are looking for. If you notice the knee collapses inward and it is difficult to control, try this version with reactive neuromuscular stabilization (RNT).
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART