Single Leg Stability Training for the Runner

by Devin Blessing, DPT, OCS >> Request an Appointment

Running can be described as a series of mini single leg squats or brief periods of single leg balance – repeated thousands of times. Now try standing on one foot while doing a heel raise. It’s tough, isn’t it? If your single leg stability is not rock solid, then you are putting yourself at a greater risk of hip, knee or foot injuries. The good news is, with just a few exercises, you can significantly improve your single leg stability.

Single Leg RDL (3 x 8 reps each side)

The Single Leg RDL remains one of my favorite strengthening exercises for a runner. It combines a strengthening of the posterior chain (mostly glutes and hamstrings) with challenging your stability at the foot, ankle and core. Try this exercise out while holding a kettle bell in the opposite hand of the foot you are standing on.

The Clock Squat (3 x 5 reps each leg)

The Clock Squat is a great runner-specific multi-planar challenge of your foot, ankle and hip stability while training eccentric control of your knee. You will perform a mini single leg squat while tapping the ground at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions. Each cycle around the clock is one repetition.

Hip Airplanes (3 x 6 reps each side)

These are great for challenging the rotational stability of your hip while also working balance at the foot and ankle. You can regress this exercise by using a stick for balance until you improve. Be sure to go slowly.

Try these out to improve your single leg stability and reduce your chance of injury. Let us know what you think in the comments section!

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