In a continuation of his BOSU Ball series, Brian adds the BOSU Ball to the Single-Leg Lateral Reach to create a great exercise for injury prevention, general strengthening, ankle/knee/hip rehab and performance enhancement, among a list of other benefits.
See 'Related Resources' below for past Functionally Fits and other exercises and training tips.
Note: I first introduced the single leg lateral reach in October 2008, but decided to cover the BOSU Ball version in this current series given its value for neuromuscular training and injury prevention.
Begin standing on one leg with the foot placed in the center of the BOSU Ball . Next, slowly lower down into a single-leg squat while reaching the non weight-bearing leg out away from the body toward a cone (I use a 4 1/2 inch cone). 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 at or just before the reaching leg is about to touch the cone or 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 2-3 sets of 10.
Don't compromise form at any point, yet allow clients to have an opportunity to correct loss of balance as this will encourage better neuromuscular patterning and motor memory.
This exercise can be utilized for injury prevention, general strengthening, ankle/knee/hip rehab and performance enhancement. It targets the entire lower kinetic chain, but I use it for specifically for gluteus maximus/medius strengthening. Other benefits include:
- Improved balance and proprioception
- Increased gluteus medius activation/strengthening
- 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
Clients should have a prerequisite level of static balance on the BOSU Ball prior to attempting this maneuver. Begin on the floor if necessary and transition as indicated. I include this training with my jumping cutting athletes as part of my ACL injury prevention/rehab as current research indicates our best weapon in the fight to reduce these injuries is neuromuscular training. The BOSU Ball can help enhance this type of training in the appropriate client populations and settings.
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.