If you read the last post that I wrote on this subject. You will know that this movement pattern is directly tied into many activities that we like to train as fitness enthusiasts or even as beginners to fitness. Those activities are any particular activity that requires the use of one side of the body or an opposite pattern move. (walking, running) The examples that I used were strength moves such as: pistols (single leg squats) lunging and of course, running. However, it is not limited to those. In fact sports such as: cycling, football, soccer and many others heavily involve this pattern as well. So it is vital that it be competent in order to help us prevent injury and give us the best chance of success in our chosen pursuit.

Seeing its importance in fitness and having learned two of many ways that it can be assessed, we will now begin to discuss some ways to improve it. Now please be aware, that this post will not replace a qualified person helping you. But it will give you some ways that will help most people with any potential issues with this pattern.

As we take a deeper look at this pattern and its two assessments in the FMS, we can see that it is quite complex; meaning that the potential for causes for dysfunction can be seen in any part of the body throughout the chain. In other words the dysfunction can be in your ankle, hips, core, and t-spine (especially the lunge pattern) neck and so on.

How then can we figure out how to improve it then? First and the best way, is if you don’t have pain in the pattern is to see an FMS specialist to screen you and help you build a corrective approach. However, if you cannot get to one for some reason, you can start from you ankle and work your way up.

Ankle: This self assessment can be done by putting your toes against the wall and while keeping your heel down, touch your knee to the wall. Then if you can move back a bit does it again and so-on if you cannot get your knee past your toe a bit, you may need to do the next drill.

Half kneeling ankle dorsi-flexion drill: Take a stick slightly outside of your little toe. Push you knee outside of it and while keeping your heel down, move your knee forward and back until you get an improvement. Then re-assess your ankle mobility. Finally re-test your single leg stance or do the in-line lunge or hurdle step again to see if it has improved. If it does you most likely had an ankle issue on your hands and doing this drill will be a huge step towards making one or both of these patterns better.

Calf Stretches: If the back part of your lower leg feels tight, then your calves may be keeping you from moving better. This stretch is done by standing in a staggered stance then putting your weight on you back leg while bending your front knee. Keep your back heel on the ground. Hold it for 5 seconds and then bend your knee as if you were squatting. Do this for two to three times. Of course you will want to recheck your lunge or hurdle step again.

Hips: There are a few ways to address this potential problem area:

One: you can simply foam roll your legs. Such as your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, side of your legs and so-on. Once again, re-assess to see if this corrective approach worked to improve this movement. Did it get easier to hold?

Use the half kneeling hip flexor stretch. Kneel down on one leg. Place both hands on your front knee and push down into it. Squeeze your glutes together as if you were trying to crush a walnut between them. Finally without your front knee going forward tilt your pelvis or press your butt forward.  Once again see if your S.L.S. is better.

After you may have addressed any mobility issues in the lower body and T-spine, (lunge pattern) you will want to stabilize the area to keep your new mobility. Then we go into one of my favorite drills the half kneeling drills.

Lastly, comes the single leg deadlift patterning and light loading to challenge the movement and create more stability and awareness. First you will want to pattern it and learn how to hold your position, before you load this move and then load it. (Yay!)

Next week we will finish this series on this fundamental movement pattern with learning how to make sure that it becomes more permanent by strength work. So stay tuned for that and subscribe to this blog to get it and my other posts, directly in your e-mail inbox. Just put it in the box to the upper left hand corner and it will be all yours.


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