From balance to coordination, strength to stability, this exercise touches on almost any quality you wish to enhance. In this video I demonstrate some of the cues and ways to challenge yourself along the way.
Here are the details:
- Primary muscles recruited: glutes, hamstrings, gastroc, soleus, erector spinae, core and upper back if holding weights
- Can be performed with simply bodyweight, kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell, weight vest, bands or cables
- Weight can be in one hand (contralateral or opposite of standing leg), one hand (ipsilateral or same as standing leg), or both hands
- My personal preference is to hold contralaterally; I believe this significantly increases core activation and the spiral line from the shoulder carrying the weight to the hip moving the entire body is challenged to stabilize and activate at higher levels. Would love to see research on this!
- Focus on pushing back with the moving leg, keeping it parallel with upper body; tight hamstrings will limit end range of motion or how high you can raise the moving leg behind you
- Cables or bands can be resistance to enhance different weak/sticking points throughout the range of motion
- Attaching a low cable can increase glute recruitment by making it much harder to squeeze forward at the top of the movement
- Avoid wearing running shoes; your foot's interaction and ability to 'grab' the ground will translate to more recruitment up the leg all the way to the hip
- Breathing: breathe in on the descent and out on the way up. This eliminates 'stress breathing', or holding your breath, during the movement, and should help with balance issues
- Avoid rotation from the lumbar or hip area; pointing the moving toe down towards the ground, and that heel towards the ceiling will help minimize this rotation
- 25-30 degrees of knee bend is all that's needed to recruit the hamstring/glute 'tie-in'
- Good balance is required if you're looking to add resistance, but give it a try just bodyweight if you're just beginning
- Takes the low back out of the equation significantly
- Fantastic exercise for runners, triathletes
- If foot or calf cramps occur during the movement, stop and roll out (with tennis ball, stick, foam roller, etc) your peroneals (side of lower leg) and posterior calf muscles (gastroc and soleus)
- Also focus more on squeezing forward from your glutes and hamstrings on the ascent
- Can also be performed as a test:
- stand on one foot, touch toe then reach hand above your head, touch toe again, etc
- Perform as many repetitions in 30 seconds
- Test other side, compare
- Repeat in another month after performing loaded; should notice increased number of reps which coincides with better balance