Building unilateral stability is essential, regardless of whether you are a competitive runner or a casual jogger. What is unilateral stability? What is unilateral stability? What exercises can be incorporated into your exercise routine to increase unilateral stability?
What is unilateral stability?
First, let’s clarify what unilateral stability is. Anthony Pavlich, PT and DPT with Airrosti (a national healthcare organization focusing on musculoskeletal health care), says stability is the ability of our center of mass to remain above our base of support. This is a fancy way to say being able maintain our balance dynamically. “Unilateral stability is the ability to balance on one leg, or from a single stance position.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stand on one leg all the time (for example, when practicing yoga). Pavlich says that stability dynamically …[ also refers to being on one leg while running, walking, or jumping.
Because we spend so much time in this single stance, it is crucial that we have unilateral stability. Pavlich says that we don’t train unilaterally a lot of the times we train. “[And] if there is no unilateral stability… we will develop compensations or poor movement patterns which can lead to fatigue, injury, and impaired performance.
Which areas are you able to improve unilateral stability in?
It is obvious that improving unilateral stability will be important. What does this look like? What areas should you focus on to achieve unilateral stability?
Pavlich states, “It is very important when it comes to unilateral stability to strengthen both the core muscles and our glute muscle muscles.”
A strong core makes it easier to balance. This is a crucial factor in unilateral stability. Pavlich also says that “a lot of our unilateral stabilization comes from our glute muscles or the muscles around the hip.” You can increase unilateral stability by strengthening your glue muscles.
Strengthening your legs is also important. Unilateral stability is about being able balance on one leg at once. The stronger your legs are, the easier it will be to do so.
Exercises to increase unilateral stability
Pavlich says that the following exercises can be used to increase unilateral stability. They “mirror functional movement we do every day.” Pavlich says that all three exercises are designed to challenge your balance and strengthen both your core and glutes. This makes them great for building unilateral stability and making you a better walker and runner.
Step-up. Face a step. Place your foot on the step, pushing through the heel. As you rise, squeeze your glutes. You’ll feel it in your glutes and hamstrings. Slow down and be controlled with your movements. Keep your movements slow and controlled.
Pavlich says that proper form is key to maximizing your benefits and ensuring your back doesn’t arch. Also, make sure your knees don’t protrude in front of your feet.
Single-leg deadlift. Place your weight on the one leg and keep your hips back. Keep your hips straight and lift your non-stance leg in front of you. Recover your original position and squeeze your glutes. Continue with the other leg.
Pavlich says that proper form requires you to push through your heel and bring it back up, so you can use the hamstrings and glute muscles to perform the movement.
Glute bridge for single leg. Place your hands on the ground and place your knees bent so that you are lying flat on your back.
Pavlich says that you’ll feel a gap between your lower back, the ground and your first time you lie down. You can reduce that space by turning your pelvis inwards. Your back will now feel flat on the floor.
For support, place your hands on the floor and then extend one leg. Extend your leg and squeeze your glutes. Next, lift your hips off the ground and press through your heel. Keep your leg extended and pause at the top. Then, slowly lower down to the ground, while keeping your leg extended. You can repeat the same exercise with the other leg.
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