Functionally Fit, PFP's newest e-newsletter column, is a series of tips to keep your clients' routines fresh, exciting, but more importantly, effective. Check in every month to read Brian's newest tip. This month, learn about the single leg lateral reach:

 

 
 Lateral Reach Start

 

Execution

Standing on one leg, slowly lower down into a single leg squat while reaching the non-weight bearing leg out away from the body. The foot and toes of the reaching leg should remain pointed forward at all times.

 

While avoiding contact with the ground, continue reaching out as far as possible, and return to upright just before the reaching leg is about to touch the cone and before loss of balance occurs. Do not allow the trunk to side bend or the stance hip/knee to rotate inward or shift toward the midline of the body. Perform two to three sets of 10.

 

Application

This exercise can be utilized for injury prevention, general strengthening and performance enhancement. It targets the quadriceps, hamstrings and hip musculature, but I use it for specifically for gluteus medius strengthening.

 

Benefits include:

·         Improved balance and proprioception

·         Increased gluteus medius strength (weakness often contributes to anterior knee pain)

·         Enhanced dynamic mobility and single leg strength

·         Reduced valgus moments at the knee, thereby decreasing non-contact ACL injury risk

·         Better overall body awareness and control

 

Progression

Stable without rotation to stable with rotation and then moving to unstable without rotation to unstable with rotation (see images below).

 

   

 Stable lateral reach (no rotation)

 

 Stable lateral reach (with rotation)

 

   
 Unstable lateral reach (no rotation)  Unstable lateral reach (with rotation)

 

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS (www.brianschiff.com) is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. He became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In 2000, he opened his own personal training and sport specific conditioning facility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at several professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specific training.

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