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5 Single Leg Exercises to Improve Balance

Updated: Apr 8


1. Split Squat


a. Begin with your right foot on the bench (or chair or couch!) behind you and your left foot out in front of you, with a slight bend in your knee

b. Inhale and slowly lower down into a lunge-type position, keeping your left knee behind your toe. Go only as low as is comfortable for you

c. Exhale and push through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position

d. Repeat 8-10 times on each side

2. Single Straight Leg Deadlift


a. Begin in a standing position on a flat, hard surface (this will be more difficult on carpet) You may hold a light free weight in your right hand if you wish

b. Inhale and slowly raise your right leg as far off the ground behind you as you can and lean forward – you may find that holding a light weight in your right hand will help stabilize you

c. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position – try not to let everything fall back into place, but control the movement all the way back to standing

d. Repeat 6-8 times on each side

3. Single Leg Glute Bridge


a. Start on your back with your knees bent, your heels a few inches from your butt and your arms on the floor at your sides

b. Extend your right leg up as straight as you can above you 

c. Exhale and push through your heel, lifting your butt off the ground until your body is at an angle from the tip of your extended toe to your shoulders

d. Slowly lower back to the starting position

e. Repeat 10-12 times on each side

4. Single Leg Box Squat


a. Begin standing about 6-8 inches in front of a bench (or chair or couch!) 

b. Exhale and lift your right leg a few inches off the ground, straight in front of you and using the strength in your left leg, lower slowly to a seated position on the bench

c. Take a quick inhale while seated and then extend your right leg again

d. Exhale and use the strength in your left leg to return to a standing position

e. Repeat 5-7 times on each side

5. Single Leg Row


a. Begin in a standing position on a hard, flat surface, holding a light free weight in your right hand

b. Inhale and lift your right leg straight out behind you as far as you comfortably can and bend forward to about a 45 degree angle

c. Exhale while keeping your palm facing inward and pull the weight up to your side with your arm staying close to your body and your shoulder coming up behind your back

d. Inhale and return the arm to the starting position, all while keeping balanced on your left foot

e. Repeat 10-12 times on each side

Obviously, single-leg exercises can be very challenging and you may not be ready for all of the exercises on this list. But, choose a couple and start working on them! If you have to kickstand the foot behind you for balance at the beginning – do that! If you can’t lift your leg very high off the ground – it’s ok! If you have to place your foot back to the ground for balance between each rep – that’s totally acceptable! Just start somewhere and work towards getting better. Your body and mind – and balance – will thank you!

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