The final segment of Brian's Functionally Fit knee miniseries analyzes the cross-over cone touch, an exercise ideal for increasing dynamic quad, hamstring and gluteal strength.

See 'Related Resources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the knee series) and other exercises and training tips.

Execution

Stand on one leg approximately 12"-18" away and equidistant from the two cones. Slowly reach across and touch the left cone with the right hand and return to upright maintaining single-leg balance the entire time.

Next, slowly reach the left hand across to the right cone, and return to the start position.

Repeat five to 10 times each side, and perform one to three sets total.

Application
This exercise is ideal for increasing dynamic quad, hamstring and gluteal strength. In addition, it will dramatically improve proprioception and stability of the knee. Adding in this transverse plane motion is very challenging and teaches the client to activate the hips to avoid losing balance and having the knee cave inward. By dynamically resisting this valgus moment, the client improves closed-chain neuromuscular control and reduces laterally directed patellar forces.

Additional Notes
Prior to initiating this exercise, it is advisable to have the client reach the left hand to the left cone and the right hand to the right cone to ensure s/he has adequate strength and control to perform the cross-over version. This particular exercise is effective in training clients or athletes with a history of lateral patellar subluxations or patella instability as well. Emphasize strict form at all times, and consider using a taller cone until the client masters the technique.

To increase difficulty, instruct the client to stand further away from the cones and eventually reach to tape on the floor. Keep the heel down at all times. The client should ultimately strive for no touches on the free leg while keeping all weight on the stance leg.

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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