Position the BOSU ball dome-side up. Start with the left foot (toes pointed down) on the center of the BOSU ball. The right foot/leg is in a forward lunge position. Note that both legs will be in a split squat position throughout. While maintaining a stable position with the right foot forward, perform a diagonal chop moving upward from the left hip to over the right shoulder and then back to the start position.
Perform 10 repetitions and then switch leg positions and perform the same movement in the opposite direction. Do 2-3 sets on each side.
This exercise is designed to improve balance, hipstrength/stability, hip flexor extensibility and core strength. Another side benefit is that the chopencourages lead leg concentric and eccentric hip external rotation (gluteusmedius/maximus activation) and this will train the body to reduce valgusmoments at the knee in a less stable body position.
Utilizing a deliberately slow cadence is best as itmaximizes the stability challenge and does not necessitate a high load foreffective work. Initially, the exercisecan be done with no external load. Toadd additional resistance, consider using a medicine ball or even lightresistance tubing (from a solid anchor point).
This exercise is particularly useful for clientele dealingwith weakness and mobility issues in the core and hips. Clients may struggle initially just to staydown and maintain a good split squat position.If necessary, begin the movement on the floor and then move to the BOSU ball after the client masters correct form.
Be sure clients can sustain an isometric split squatposition on the BOSU ball for no less than 30 seconds in order to adequately progressto the chops. Adjust the distancebetween the BOSU ball and the lead leg as well as the height/rotation of thediagonal chop to increase the difficulty of the exercise and the amount of hipflexor stretch.
This exercise can effectively be used as part of a moreprogressive dynamic warm-up or as a staple in your lower body/corestrengthening program.
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.