Our fitness industry seems to be obsessed with being “sexy”; it seems as though our workouts have to appear “sexy”  and so-on. Now there is nothing wrong with being sexy, in fact my wife thinks that I am the most sexy guy that there is. But there is a problem  when we focus on the way things look instead of the effect that they have on the participant of the activity.

It is funny because some of the most effective exercises to get people fitter are not sexy looking, but may be considered “ugly” and “old school.” A good example of the this is the deadlift. There is nothing very appealing about it as far as how it looks. It doesn’t claim to be the move that will get you abs in 5minutes a day. Nor does it have you prancing about as mythical character trotting through the wilderness while playing the flute. Yet it will burn extreme calories, build muscle, develop strength, work your entire body and cause your metabolism to raise for 16 to 32 hours, if you use the right load as you train.


Today’s post is about a subject that doesn’t get much consideration but is vital in producing fitness results long-term by giving you a leg up on injury prevention. ( feel free to laugh at my pun!)The subject is the Single leg stance. Now before I begin to talk about the assessment and then how to fix it, let’s discuss its importance in our fitness lives.

First and foremost, we cannot escape away from this movement pattern as any point in our lives if we are ambulatory. Single leg stance is seen in our gait patterns in a lower activity level in walking and on a higher neurological level in running. Then on a fitness level in every thing that we may do that is a single leg drill, from lunging to the more advanced exercises such as: Bulgarian split squats, pistols and so on. So don’t overlook this important move as not important and not in the realm of your goals.

Not to mention the fact that for those of my readers that enjoy running this movement pattern is what running is. In fact as we run one leg leaves the ground as the other pushes off into forward movement. So if you are deficient in this pattern your chance of injury goes way up.




The single leg stance begins as we develop neurologically with simple head movement and then as we roll to get into our prone posture in preparation for crawling and so on. (facing down) Then as we work through this developmental process and algorithm, we begin to develop it further in half kneeling and it culminates in us hopping and skipping as we develop as humans even further. Then it begins to come into play in a specific way as we compete in sports and begin to train.


Now that you know its importance in your fitness success and injury prevention, how can we tell if it is acceptable to begin a comprehensive training program or sports program?

Thankfully there are ways that we can examine it before we begin to train in order to not put fitness on top of dysfunction. These assessments are found in the 7 movements of the functional movement screen on a lower level by looking at the active straight leg raise and as the process of development goes the rotary stability and finally in the in line lunge and hurdle step assessments.

The FMS gives its practitioner a simple scoring system to know what to work on and correct based on what is seen in the screen. For example a person may have a good deep squat but be deficient in the inline lunge. Or they may have an acceptable trunk stability push up but not do as well in the hurdle step. These particular issues show us what to correct, avoid for the meantime as well as what we should make stronger as the corrective process goes on.

Using these two examples in the last paragraph, both if these people have an issue with single leg stance and if their chosen activities involve running or any other activity where these movements are seen; can make the compensation worse and eventually could lead to an injury and time off from their sport. In order to give a leg up against injury, we would want to begin to correct and make better this issue and then return them to their chosen activity with a better resilience.


Stay tuned to this blog, because next week I will begin to talk about ways that we can begin to improve this movement pattern and then begin to make it permanent!
  1. […] The Getting Fitter for The long Run Series : The Single Leg Stance Part 1 April 2, 2015 […]


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