Exercise Highlight 14: Single Leg Quarter Squats
The Single Leg Quarter Squat is a great exercise for anyone, whether an advance athlete that needs to get their hips turned on or the beginner looking to strengthen their single leg stance. I primarily use this exercise myself within my movement prep for a given activity. Here I am about to go for a hard training ride in the Harriman area after sitting and standing for several hours working on content and training programs. Before my ride, runs or workouts I want to ensure that my hips/core are ready for the demand ahead so that I receive the intended training response and avoid compensations.
Good cycling and running form depends on how well you move through your hips. If your locked up and areas are disengaged (sleeping on the job), then other areas will need to work harder leading to energy leaks and compensations that will lead to poor performance and ultimately an injury. This exercise will help to strengthen your connection to your core and ground force reaction of every foot strike and pedal stroke.
If you're new to this exercise, begin with 3 sets of 3-5 reps with each rep taking a total of 8-10 seconds to perform so do them very slowly. Pay attention to the way you are hinging, how the big toe and arch of your foot feels and it’s connection to your gluteals. You may not feel much at all in your butt in the beginning so be patient. The key is too PRACTICE and not rush this exercise. Every rep should improve until fatigue sets in. The goal is to feel locked in with your core and braced throughout the motion, with your gluteals doing the bulk of the work.
For the more experienced athlete, work up to 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps for 8-10 seconds each. This is not an exercise you're trying to exhaust yourself with or want to load with additional weight or resistance. You can increase the stability and balance demand by standing on an air-ex pad or similar. This will help to further strengthen your foot & ankle complex and it’s relationship to your LPHC (lumbo pelvic hip complex).