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Building pillar strength is important for clients and athletes alike. Specifically, improving anterior rotational stability is important for optimizing movement patterns and reducing injury risk.




Execution:
 
 

Begin in a tall plank position with the hands beneath the shoulders and position the left foot on a slider. Both legs are fully extended, and the other foot will rest on the floor. The feet should be about shoulder width apart.



 
 

Next, slowly slide the left foot forward flexing the hip to 90 degrees. Pause at the top and then return to the start position. Perform 10 repetitions and then position the slider under the right foot and repeat. Perform 1-2 sets on each side. The cadence can be 1/1/1 or 1/1/2. The supported leg and spine should remain straight throughout the movement.


Regression:
Simply remove the sliders and perform a single leg mountain climber movement grading the degree of hip flexion based on the client's ability to sustain the proper form. Work one leg at a time and then advance to the alternating pattern before advancing to the sliding versions.

Progression:
To advance the exercise, simply add another slider and perform a running plank by alternating the legs back and forth. The key is to focus on maintaining a neutral spine throughout.

Application:
This exercise is an effective tool for improving hip flexor strength and trunk stability. It helps to enforce and train anti-extension and anti-rotation strength in the trunk which will in turn reduce load on the spine and improve alignment for running, sprinting and sagittal plane movements.


Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor at the Athletic Performance Center in Raleigh, NC. Brian presents nationally at several professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more cutting edge training information, subscribe to his monthly Training & Sports Medicine Update at www.BrianSchiff.com.

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