Poor hip stability and limited hip flexor strength can negatively impact athletic performance. With prolonged sitting, the iliopsoas often becomes tight and weak, and this along with gluteal dysfunction can disrupt running mechanics and limit hip stability. This exercise is an effective way to train in order to overcome one or both of these issues.



Execution:

Stand on the left leg with a slightly bent knee. The right foot will be slightly behind the stance leg. Next, drive the right knee/leg forward and upward as high as possible. Pause for 1 second and then return slowly to the start position without touching the ground. Perform 10 repetitions on each side, and repeat for 2-3 sets.

Emphasis should be on form at all times. Consider allowing clients to perform the exercise in front of a mirror for visual feedback. If balance proves challenging with or without valgus collapse, you may allow the client to use fingertip stability on a static object until control improves enough to ensure appropriate patterns. Likewise, a light toe touch on the floor can be used for the moving leg for the same reasons.

Progression:

To add another component of difficulty and strengthening, squat down on the stance leg prior to driving the unsupported leg up. This will further challenge the frontal plane control of the stance leg and promote triple extension.

Application:

This exercise will facilitate closed chain hip stability and open chain hip flexor strength. Working on both will help promote optimal running mechanics and reduce injury risk for overuse syndromes, prevent knee valgus collapse and improve balance and proprioception.

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