Brian Schiff's Functionally Fit continues to target the infamous knee with a pair of glute-strengthening, quad-building, hamstring-empowering exercises: single-leg posterior and anterior reaches.

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


Standing on one leg, slowly reach the other leg backward as far as you are able under control. Pause without touching the foot down, then return to upright maintaining single-leg stance at all times. If necessary, allow clients to lightly touch the toe of the reaching foot to the ground.

Repeat as above, except reach the opposite heel forward as far as possible under control. If necessary, allow clients to lightly touch the heel down for added stability. Repeat for one to three sets of 10 reps for each direction.

This is an excellent way to strengthen the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings in those clients who need single-leg strength and balance work (any field, court or running athlete or someone rehabilitating from a knee injury).

I prefer teaching posterior reaches prior to attempting an anterior reach as it is less challenging, allows you to effectively observe gluteus strength and stability and typically does not aggravate the patella-femoral joint if the quad is weak or if there is arthritis pain present.

Once the client masters the posterior reach, add the anterior reach while coaching him/her to keep the heel flat on the stance leg as the other heel reaches forward.

Additional Notes
Modify the range of motion or allow the use of upper body support initially until the leg is strong enough to perform independently with good form.

To increase perturbation naturally, have clients move from anterior to posterior continuously or vice-versa.

Add dumbbells or a medicine ball to increase load.

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS ( 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.