Poor dynamic hip stability and lower extremity weakness may contribute to increased injury risk or anterior knee pain. Single limb training is helpful for eliminating imbalances and improving balance. This single-leg squat variation will help address lower extremity asymmetry and weakness using a kettlebell.
Grasp the kettlebell in the right hand while standing on the left leg in an upright position. Next squat down on the left leg while simultaneously reaching the right foot/leg away from midline (45 degrees diagonally). Reach the right foot as far as the leg will allow provided there is no frontal plane collapse or loss of balance. Pause, and then return to the start position. Perform 10 repetitions and then switch sides.
Focus on maintaining proper posture and not allowing the knee to cave in (dynamic valgus). External cues, such as point the laser from the left knee at twelve o’clock, may be helpful as the moving leg will pull the left knee inward.
1. Increase external load
2. Increase the cadence, specifically the eccentric phase
3. Perform barefoot and/or on a balance pad
1. Consider using no external resistance and/or limiting the range of motion while providing verbal and tactile cues to maintain proper alignment
2. Allow the client to touch the toe or foot of the unsupported leg down to balance at the bottom of the squat
3. Instruct the client to place the arms in a forward position at shoulder height and perpendicular to the torso may provide a counterbalance allowing for improved stability if needed
This exercise will promote single-leg strength, increase proximal hip stability and improve dynamic balance. The kettlebell is easy to hold and allows for predictable external load to enhance strength. The general population, as well as recreational and competitive athletes, can use this exercise to reduce knee injury risk, eliminate lower body imbalances and improve performance.