Single Leg Training and Postural Control

Single Leg Training and Postural Control

“Intense strength training appears to increase maximal walking speed but may not improve sit-to-stand ability or standing balance in active, communist dwelling older adults”

I was pissed when I first read this conclusion in a study on “The Effect of Intense Strength Training on Standing Balance, Walking Speed, and Sit-to-Stand Performance in Older Adults.”

Starting this article I thought for sure I’d have some confirmation bias that single leg strength training would help improve postural control in older adults. After sulking for a moment I read more and dug into the methods where I was delightfully surprised by the researchers poor exercise selection.

They had subjects perform machine based exercises on the Leg Press, Hip AB/ADuction, Ankle Extension and Leg Extension. Of course their single leg balance didn’t get better! I’m surprised it didn’t get worse!

In our experience at @bodybyboyle we find our clients dramatically improve their single leg balance by working on single leg strength drills. Developing dynamic lower leg and hip stability is vital for single leg balancing. This is extremely important for older trainees as accidental falls account for 70% of accident related deaths over age 75. About a third of people over 65 years old fall each year and at the age of 80 years or more this proportion increases to 50%.

Try incorporating split squats, single leg squats and single leg deadlifts for your clients to improve their hip strength and postural control. If they have trouble stabilizing initially have them use the assistance of a TRX or dowel rod until they build some stability. Not only does single leg training spare the spine but it could also be a lifesaver for your clients as they age.