Apart from weight/strength training that targets specific muscle groups, I like to diversify with exercises that challenge balance and stabilize, while still improving strength and elasticity of tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This is a brief sample of some exercises I do to that end. As always, it’s best to try these without weights first, and with assistance when needed, until you master the form and develop better awareness of body kinetics.
Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift
- Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip, and hold them at arm’s length in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise your right leg slightly off the floor behind you. Your right leg should stay in line with your body for the duration of the move.
- Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then raise your torso back the the starting position. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions with the same leg, then do the same number on your other leg. I do 3x 10 with each leg.
Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift–Variation
Assume the single legged deadlift position described above, one leg lifted behind you.
Hold this position and lift the weight in each hand toward the chest, bending to 90 degrees at the elbow, and lower again. repeat this 3×10 with each leg.
Single leg squats on a BOSU
Start by standing up tall on the round part of a Bosu on your left foot, with shoulders back, abs tight, arms by your sides, and left knee slightly bent.
Inhale as you squat back by bending at the knee and sticking your butt back as you lower. Keep your head and chest up, your eyes looking forward, and reach your right hand towards your left foot.
Be sure not to let your left knee go past your toes, and try to get your thigh parallel to the ground. Exhale as you press up through your heel to stand back up straight. Repeat all reps, then switch sides. I do 3×8 with each leg.
Lunges, back foot elevated, with a stability ball
Place one foot or shin on the stability ball behind you and jump your front leg forward enough so that when you lunge forward, your knee doesn’t pass to far in front of your toe.
Bend your front knee towards the ground and let your hip bone rotate in the socket. Keep your trunk upright and perpendicular to the floor so you don’t lean forward. Sink down as far as you can go, while allowing your rear leg to push the ball backwards- you should feel a big stretch in the back leg. Pressing through your heel of the front foot, extend your front knee to stand up again. Repeat this exercise for 3×8-12 repetitions.