In his latest Functionally Fit, Brian demonstrates the Trunk-Loaded Anti-Valgus Single Leg Squat, which is designed to improve single leg hip/knee strength and stability.

See 'Related Resources' below for past Functionally Fits and other exercises and training tips.


Irecommend using a functional trainer or closed loop resistance band for thisexercise. Begin with the resistance bandor harness just above the hips and secured at waist height. Step far enough out or add enough resistanceto apply a sufficient load that ensures a valgus moment will be present at the knee.

While standing on one leg, slowly squat down keeping theknee in line with the second ray of the stance foot. Pause at the bottom and then return to thefull upright position. An acceptablecadence would be 1/1/1 or 2/1/1. Perform8-10 quality reps and then switch sides.Repeat for 2-3 sets.



Thisexercise is designed to improve single leg hip/knee strength andstability. The resistance is introducedto induce a valgus load, thereby forcing increased muscle activation by the hipexternal rotators and abductors to counteract the pull in the frontal plane.

I utilize a Keiser machine (pneumatic resistance) toincrementally adjust the load for my athletes.Focus on providing just enough pull that the exercise is challenging ina lower rep range. It is also criticalto provide appropriate verbal and tactile corrective cues if the knee or hipmove into an undesirable position. Ifthe client is unable to maintain the desired form, simply reduce the resistanceor distance from the anchor point.

This exercise is particularly useful for clientele lookingto prevent or recover from patello-femoral subluxation/instability, ACLinjuries, and ITB issues. It is also goodfor field and court athletes who may have single-sided hip and/or kneeimbalances. Keep in mind that many kneeinjuries occur in direct relation to frontal and transverse plane forces innon-contact situations.

Additional notes:

Prior to adding a trunk load, be certain yourclient is able to perform no less than 10 quality unloaded single leg squatswithout deviation. You should also watchout for any compensatory trunk and shoulder sway that may occur if there issignificant gluteus medius weakness.Placing a 4-6" cone in front of the client to reach toward initially mayalso improve stability and form until the client masters the form.

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.