Common Faults during a Single Limb Squat

The single limb squat is a great assessment of strength, mobility, and motor control of the lower limb. A common misalignment seen during the single limb squat is poor utilization of the posterolateral hip muscles. Both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius are important in controlling the eccentric phase of the squat. When the glutes lack proper strength or motor control, both knee valgus and/or a Trendelenburg sign can be observed. In the video below, both deficits are noted at various ranges of motion.

Solution/ Corrective Strategies:

Improving single limb squat mechanics generally takes time. Due to the difficulty of the compound movement, isolated exercises such as bridges and clamshells are not task specific enough to improve the movement. While these exercises are great for managing pain as well as getting muscles engaged, task specificity always needs to be on the front of the examiner's clinical reasoning.  

To retrain the single limb squat, first identify any mobility deficits that could be contributing to the movement dysfunction. Next, begin focus on strengthening as well as task specific training. Start with mini single limb stand-to-sits, emphasizing the eccentric phase of the movement. During this exercise the client can use hand support to help control the movement. Once 15+ repetitions can be performed with proper form, gradually incorporate deeper ranges of motion. As strength progresses, be sure to focus on the concentric phase of the movement as well. Start with single leg step-downs with a heel touch, controlling both the ascend and descent of the movement. When the client demonstrates adequate balance, get rid of the hand assistance!

Not all clients are appropriate for single limb squats. Be sure to start with double limb squats and address those impairments first!

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