Progression 1/3: Single Leg Balancing Squat
Everyday, people engage in movements that involve coordination of the ankle, knee and hip joints (AKH). Movements such as walking, running, and jumping are variations of the Single Leg Squatting position. In order for coordinated execution of these movements to take place, proper engagement of the core and sequenced activation of the posterior chain are extremely important. Proper core engagement contributes to smooth integration of the hip, knee and ankle. The posterior chain is associated with spinal stabilization is key to integrating movements through the AKH.
Progression 2/3: Single Leg Balancing Squat
The core must engage and the ankles must be stable and flexible. It is from here that proper hip drive and knee extension can occur. Knee extension and back extension are predicated by activation of the posterior chain, in conjunction with good core engagement. When these pieces come together then the squat takes place as if the body were a piston in a well oiled machine. Single Leg Squatting will help develop these biomechanics.
Progression 3/3: Single Leg Balancing Squat
This is a list of muscles associated with the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex. Tightness or weakness in any of these areas could inhibit actions, ie; Single Leg Squatting, that are dependent on coordination through the AKH. *
- Adductor complex
- Hamstring complex
- Hip flexors
- Abdominal complex
- Erector spinae
- Intrinsic core stabilizers
- Latissimus dorsi
- Tensor fascia latae/IT-band
- Gluteus medius and maximus
The human body is bilaterally constructed. As such, imbalances between the left and the right side of the body are fairly common; whether due to injury or dominant side biomechanics in sports or daily activities. In this article, we present Single Leg Squatting as a movement that will help with establishing continuity between both sides of the body.
The Single Leg Balancing Squat
1) Stand on one leg. Wrap the lifted foot behind the supporting ankle.
- This position ensures that there will be work done on the balancing leg side.
- There will be a contralateral transfer of the work as the hips stabilize the torso.
- You may need to use a support rod when you start working with this exercise.
- I find it easier to inhale on the descent but you need to find what works for you.
The single leg balancing squat is a great way to develop the mechanics of ankle stability, knee joint strength, hip flexibility/stability, and spinal stabilization in lieu of moving on to heavier bilateral power/strength work.
*List obtained from Corrective Strategies for the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex, NASM