One of the most overlooked groups of exercises in our opinion, and yet one of the most important is Single-Leg Exercises! If you pause and think about it, a lot of our activity is performed while standing, at one point standing on one leg. From walking, running, skipping, or jumping, our ability to balance and develop our lower extremities strength and power is essential for performance. Physical Therapists commonly incorporate some of them depending on your physical needs.
For this article, we will be sharing with you the most common and the best single leg exercises to prepare you before you get busy the whole day. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a worker who needs to finish errands, these exercises are perfect for you. It’s important to have yourself checked by your doctor and Physical Therapist so that all the movements are safe for you to perform rather than developing other injuries.
This exercise targets your Gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
- Lie on your back and hold one knee towards the chest (above the knee or behind the hamstring).
- Apply pressure into the ground with your opposite leg and drive your hips up towards the ceiling. Make sure you are clenching your glutes tightly at the top for a 3-5 second hold.
- The most common mistake to avoid here is arching your back and rotating your hips. Your Physical Therapist will be helping you on your first try.
This is the easiest of all the single-leg exercises but it would also test your balance and leg strength- and that’s the target of the single-leg stance especially if you have an ankle sprain for example. To do this you’ll be needing a chair or to stand near the wall in case you need something to help you balance yourself.
- Start by standing upright with your feet together. If you feel unsteady, hold on to a chair to keep you steady.
- Lift one of your feet off the ground but do not allow your legs to touch.
- Hold the position for as long as you can and record it every day. The longer you can hold that position, the better.
If you want a challenge, try varying the height of your knee, twisting your torso or performing a single-leg deadlift if you can. But remember, only if you can tolerate it.
Single-Leg Hamstring Curl
For this exercise, you’ll be needing a stability ball or slide board. For this exercise, you’ll be focusing on developing your Hamstrings, buttocks, and hips.
- Lie facing up, keep both of your legs straight and rest your heels on top of a stability ball.
- Next, press through the heels and raise your hips off the ground.
- Lift one of your legs straight up into the air directly up from the hips, and drive the other heel into the ball.
- Now, with the leg on the ball, bend at the knee and drive your hips into the air while pulling that heel in towards the body.
- Lastly, slowly straighten that leg until your body is in a straight line, but keep your other leg straight up in the air and slowly lower back to the starting position on a 3-second count to focus on eccentric control.
If you want to strengthen those muscles we have mentioned above or to regain your mobility from a sprain or strain, contact us now to start with your journey for a better you!