Single Leg Stability Test
Have you ever wondered why most, if not all, of your running injuries occur on one side of your body. It happens because we all have some sort of asymmetry in our body. The asymmetry could be caused by an old injury like a sprained ankle, it could be caused by a leg length discrepancy, or it could even be caused by something more fundamental like sitting slightly "wonky" at work every day.
These asymmetries cause one side of our body to work slightly differently to the other which, when multiplied by the thousands and thousands of steps you take every week training, subjects our muscles, tendons and joints to different amounts and types of stress. One of the areas most susceptible and affected by these different stresses are the muscles around our hips and pelvis.
It is this viscous cycle of:
Body Asymmetry ⇒ Repetition (Running) ⇒ Uneven Stress ⇒ Tight Muscles ⇒ Altered Stability ⇒ Niggle/Injury ⇒ Further Asymmetry
which makes it so hard to break out of the injury cycle where you seem to bounce continuously from one injury to another.
One of the most proactive and productive things you can do to help break this cycle is to assess your stability on one leg compared to the other and focus on specific exercises which will help to make both sides as equal as possible.
The more symmetrical you become, the less likely you will be to sustaining any of the common overuse running injuries like:
- Shin Splints
- Achilles Tendonitis
- ITB Friction Syndrome
- Knee Pain
- Calf Muscle Strains
- Glute Tendinopathies
Watch this video to learn how to assess your single leg stability and also learn a simple exercise to start improving it.
Here are four more running-specific stability exercises which will help to improve your stability and turn you into a stronger, faster and more robust runner.