Stability and balance are key components of a fitness program. In a progression, exercises will move from stable to unstable. Moving to an unstable position, of surface can be done in a variety of ways. You can use a Reebok core board, an Airex pad, foam roll or and other unstable pieces of exercise equipment. For our purposes in this article, we will focus on single leg floor exercises and progress these in future posts.
Any exercise you do in a standing position can be made unstable by lifting 1 foot off the ground. This challenges you to keep your balance while performing an exercise. You will engage more of your hip and core musculature to hold a stable position therefore you can work multiple muscle groups at once. A key point to remember is that you can make the exercise even more difficult by taking off your shoes. The support a shoe offers can give you support at the foot and ankle, so to make it harder, perform the exercise in socks or bare feet. Here are some sample exercises you can progress from 2 legs to 1 leg and an unstable position.
Single Leg Reach
Standing on your right leg, knee slightly flexed, draw in your abs and lean forward bringing your body close to parallel to the floor. Hold for a 2 count and repeat. Find something to focus on such as the corner of a desk or bench.
Single Leg Squat
Standing on your right foot, knee slightly bent, bend your left leg up slightly and squat down with your right leg to about 45 degrees,, then return to the standing position.
Single Leg Squat to Press
Standing on your right foot, knee slightly bent, perform the one legged squat as above. Draw in your abs and hold tight. At the same time have a dumbbell in your left hand ready to perform a shoulder press. As you reach the bottom of the squat, slowly raise the dumbbell overhead as you return to a standing position.
Single Leg Row
Standing on your right foot, knee slightly bent, bend at the waist to 45 degrees. Holding 2 dumbbells, allow your arms to hang to the floor. Draw in your abs and hold. Begin a rowing motion by pulling your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold at the top and then slowly lower the weight to the floor again.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Standing on your right foot, knee slightly bent, draw in your bas and hold. Keeping your legs and back straight, reach your left hand toward your toes by bending forward at the hip and return to standing.
You can take many other exercises to an unstable position by standing on one leg. It is a great way to perform familiar exercises in a new challenging way.