During training and rehab I often utilize single limb exercises for strengthening. As a progression, introducing an unstable surface will increase the demand for sufficient trunk control and core stability, while requiring proximal stability to prevent good alignment.
In this column, I will discuss how to use StrongBoard to challenge balance and stability while performing single leg squats and different advanced reaching exercises.
Execution: Begin with StrongBoard in a vertical position relative to the foot position (or parallel). Stand in the center of StrongBoard on the left foot and find a stable balanced position. Next, slowly squat down while lowering the right heel to the floor. Lightly tap the floor and return to the upright starting position. Perform 10 repetitions and then switch stance legs.
Keep in mind the distance lowered should be dictated by the body control and form during the eccentric phase of the movement. It is important to cue the client to avoid frontal plane collapse (valgus knee). With that said, there will be some natural movement and displacement given the freedom of movement and unstable design of StrongBoard. Perform 2-3 sets of the squats focusing on minimizing lateral/rotational movement of the trunk and stance leg.
Progression: Once the client masters the basic squat (or lateral step-down), advance to a posteromedial reach and then finally a posterolateral reach. These two progressions add more frontal and transverse plane proprioceptive demand. Again, the depth of the squat should be limited based on form and control.
1. Decrease the depth of the squat
2. Perform a split squat with the rear foot on the ground
3. Perform a two-legged squat
Application: Single limb training is great for eliminating imbalances and asymmetries. Once a client masters ground based training, adding in an unstable surface or training environment can heighten proprioceptive awareness and increase demand on the entire body including the core. StrongBoard introduces such an environment and allows for dynamic balance and stability training that can be used for advanced rehab, injury prevention and training for athletic development.