One-​leg squat

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What it’s good for Strengthens all the “sit­ting and stand­ing” muscles of the leg and but­tocks. Especially good for knee muscle con­di­tion­ing. Improves bal­ance and teaches the brain and body how to cor­rectly pos­i­tion knees and ankles when bend­ing
How often to do it Daily
Equipment you’ll need A chair-​back or wall for bal­ance sup­port

Squatting on one leg for leg strengthening

  • Stand side-​on to a chair-​back or wall, with one hand lightly touch­ing it for bal­ance sup­port
  • Lift the leg farthest from the chair/​wall
  • Squeeze the but­tock muscle on your stand­ing leg and keep it squeezed
  • With foot point­ing dir­ectly for­wards, bend your knee and push your bot­tom back­wards to lower down
  • Keep your knee in line with your big toe through­out – don’t let it point inwards, out­wards, or wobble around
  • Hold for a count of 5 at the low­est point, then care­fully and slowly push back up to start point
  • Rest briefly and repeat

Aim to do 8 squats on one leg, then turn around and repeat on the other leg

♦ If you can’t con­trol your knee, only lower down half as much – even if it’s a very small squat you will be doing valu­able work. Over time you will be able to lower down fur­ther and keep con­trol
♦ Avoid tuck­ing your bot­tom under when you do this move­ment. Your back should be neut­ral (see neut­ral spine)

Cannot do this at all? This is quite an advanced exer­cise, need­ing good bal­ance and con­trol of your leg joints. To pre­pare for it, try squats first

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

Once you can do 8 slow, steady repeats on each leg, you need to make the exer­cise harder. Try the pro­gres­sions below:

The pro­gres­sions

  1. Increase the num­ber of repeats to 15 each side without rest
  2. Increase the length of hold to 10 seconds per squat
  3. Lower the depth of the squat. When you do this, drop back the num­ber of repeats and length of holds to start with, and build up again at the deeper squat level
  4. Place your hands on hips and go back to the first level, but this time with no bal­ance sup­port.

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