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Perform 2 sets of 8 repetitions per side each day. Continue using this exercise 1-2 times per week once symptoms have resolved to improve strength. When using 1-2 times per week, add resistance by holding weights in the hands or a barbell across the back.
This exercise will challenge coordination and stability of the hip and trunk and is easily progressed into higher levels of resistance as strength improves.
Start by doing this exercise with bodyweight, and progress to holding a weight on the chest or across the back as your strength improves. Stand with feet hip-width apart, the pelvis neutral, shoulders back and down, and head over the body. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts, practice the Standing Pelvic Tilt and Drawing In exercises, and learn to control the head with the Head Retraction exercise.
Once you are in position, step backwards with one leg while keeping the trunk upright so that the front knee bends to 90 degrees. The weight should be on the heel of the front foot, rather than the ball of the foot. In the bottom position, the trunk should be upright with the pelvis neutral, the front knee should be pointing in line with the second toe of the front foot, rather than dropping inwards, and both hips and feet should be pointing directly ahead, rather than turned away from the front leg.
From the bottom position, use the front leg to drive the foot into the ground to bring yourself into a standing position. As you come into standing, bring the back knee up in front of you without placing the foot on the ground. Balance for a second in this potion, before lunging back into another repetition without placing the foot on the ground. Complete the set before switching legs.
• Arching the back. As the load on the body increases, the body will try to recruit the muscles it is most familiar with. In most cases, these will be the muscles of the lower back. Make sure to keep the pelvis neutral and the back from arching by Drawing In, especially in the bottom position of the exercise, as this is where it’s hardest.
• Leaning forward over the front leg. This will result in the exercise being less effective in improving trunk control. Try to keep the trunk vertical throughout the exercise, with the chest and head upright.
• Twisting at the hips and knees. To maximally engage the hip musculature, make sure the hips, knees, and feet are pointing directly ahead, rather than letting the feet and knees point in different directions, or letting the hips twist away from the front leg at any point during the movement. Make sure both hips point directly ahead and form a 90-degree angle with the thigh.
Use this exercise as part of your routine to improve balance and strength.