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Glutes / single leg squats

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The Glutes are quite possibly the most important 'multi stabilising' muscle in the entire body. This month is a further spotlight to demonstrate a further function.  Glutes play a huge role in not only stabilising your pelvis, but they also keep your legs and knees in line in a neutral plane. Weak glutes will cause knees to ‘fall in’ causing the muscles from the hip down to perform out of their normal range of movement. A common symptom attached to 'internal knee rotation' is 'runners knee' (IT Band syndrome).  TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae, the smaller muscle at the top of the ITband will shorten due to being overworked and pain will present itself around the outside of the knee where the ITband (Ilio Tibial) which overtime will start rubbing against the lower part for your thigh bone. Not a pleasant condition for anyone having suffered from it. Secondary pain or vulnerability are tight calves as your internal knee rotation creates a 'poor hinge' down into the lower leg.  

That's why we promote – Single Leg Squats.
Single leg squats are the ultimate exercise to strengthen your glutes inline to the way they need to perform when running – it will increase the effectiveness of your running significantly. The single leg squat can be done in several ways, some people prefer to use a bench behind them to hold their rear leg in position, I prefer to add the element of core balance and perform it from standing. Standing with hips shoulder length apart, bend one leg at the knee so that your toes are pointing to the ground. Lower yourself slowly on your supporting leg as far down as you can go (count for 5 for best results). Your challenge is to stop your knee from turning in at any time. When reached the lowest point, slowly raise yourself up and repeat with the other leg.  Sophie (in the picture) has chosen to add a cross body rotation to challenge the core even more.  

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Single leg squats are a great exercise that not only strengthens your glutes and core and improves your balance, it also is one of the best exercises to build muscle and strengthen your legs. These exercises are therefore ideal for practising out of marathon running season. Practise 3 x a week 12 - 15 reps 3 sets. Single leg squats is always about the technique, i would always prefer to see 6 excellent precision ones than 12 - 15 average ones. It's all about the form!

Use these to read further spotlights

Heel Striking
Forefoot running
Minimalist running
Walking lunges
Pelvic instability
Hamstring strengthening
Why stretch
Runners knee ITB
Single leg squats
Glutes, are you standing comfortably?
Squat test
Migrating to a minimalist shoe
Richard Whitehead Paralympic 200m
Medial Shin Splints
The cumulative effect
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