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Single Leg Exercises: Strength in Balance

A PARTY TRICK WITH A PURPOSE

Try this now. Close your eyes and try to stand on one foot without stumbling. I’m known to ask people to do this sometimes in social situations. People usually stumble. I’m not being mean, it just helps me respond to curious friends who ask “What’s a Pilates and what does it do?” Well, the reasons why many stumble matter to me. Most of us are unaware of how our bodies react to gravity throughout the day. Also, we have stabilizers in our hips that we don’t use as stabilizers enough. We wind up using stabilizers as movers, leading to undesirable rotations in the spine that cause damage. Improved consciousness of this and a few clever single leg exercises can prevent these circumstances, while also giving you a toned look and a strong core. When I close my eyes, stand on one foot and stumble, I know it’s time to put these single leg exercises back in my repertoire.

Single leg exercises

ONE LEGGED BALANCE

  •  Balance on one leg, keep knee soft, energy in the heel
  • Maintaining a gentle contraction in your pelvic floor muscles, lean forward as far as you can extending your back leg as parallel to the floor as possible for you, keeping the toes on the floor soft. 
  • The goal is to hold this with symmetry in your hips and shoulders, not how parallel you get to the floor. It’s ok to be holding onto something during this routine to achieve this
  • Try to HOLD FOR A MINUTE, René’s Tip: Keep your eyes fixed on one spot on the floor. Shoulders sliding down the back, relax neck and joints
  • Do other leg. If your good at that switch legs and do the…

 

ONE LEGGED SQUAT AND CURL COMBO

  •  In the described position aim for 4 SETS OF 8 SQUATS
  • Only bend the knee as much as you can without letting energy in those toes!
  • On the same leg, stabilize in that balance and curl the heel towards the glute 4 SETS OF 8 CURLS
  • Note: This is about how well you stabilize the hips not about how far you bring the foot, Judy and Kathy (above) are great examples of hip stabilization, not over reaching in these moves
  • Do the other leg. Try not to take a break. The hips should feel smoking.

 

Single leg exercises

WALL-SIT

  •  Get in chair position and keep energy out of the toes up against the wall (Lisa pictured above)
  • HOLD FOR GOAL OF TWO MINUTES
  • This may be your goal for a while, but if minutes ever get easy, instead of increasing time try the, you guessed it..

 

ONE LEGGED WALL SIT

  • If you can maintain good symmetry like Andrew, extend a leg parallel to the floor. Ouch. It’s serious.
  • HOLD EACH LEG FOR A GOAL OF A MINUTE EACH

 

These are lofty rep and time goals stated here. You’ll get there. The great thing about these single leg exercises, is every time you do them you feel you do them better than the last time. It only takes a little time and thought for healthier hips! Letting the stabilizers do their job will transform movements that may injure us into ones that make us stronger and more functionally sound everyday. So face this hip health challenge and I’ll try not to make you stumble around with your eyes closed at parties!

 

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