Lower leg strength and dynamic balance asymmetries are prevalent in many clients depending on their leg dominance, activities, injury history and preferred movement patterns. Single leg strengthening is an excellent way to assess and correct imbalances. In this column, I will discuss how to use a variation of a single leg squat to improve single leg strength, stability and proprioception..
Begin standing on the left leg while keeping the right leg in line with the body and the foot just off the floor. Next, slowly squat down while allowing the right leg to move behind the body and across the midline in a posterolateral direction. Squat as far down as possible while reaching the right foot to the furthest point without touching it down to the ground. Return to the start position and repeat this sequence. 

Perform 10 repetitions, and the switch legs. If necessary, lightly touch the toes of the trail leg to the ground to prevent a loss of balance before moving back to the start position. Keep in mind the primary goal of this exercise is to master body control, so a slower cadence with an emphasis on quality movement is preferred..

This exercise will target and help eliminate strength and stability imbalances that may exist. In addition, it facilitates transverse plane control which will aid injury prevention efforts as most sports injuries to the lower extremity occur in this plane. 

Add a mini-band above the knees to encourage more glute activation.

To aid balance and control, allow the client to use upper extremity support via straps on a device like the TRX or Jungle Gym. 

Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for EXOS API at Raleigh Orthopaedic. Brian conducts live continuing education webinars and presents nationally at professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more information on his products and services, visit

Topic: Functionally Fit

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