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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 21: Single Leg Kettlebell Triple Flexion in Standing

For the month of October, we have selected hiking specific exercises that will help prepare you for a more adequate navigation of uneven terrain often found on hiking trails

Exercise: Single Leg Kettlebell Triple Flexion in Standing

Purpose: To lift a kettlebell using your hip, knee and ankle muscles in unison while maintaining single leg balance of the opposite leg

What It Targets: Loading of the ankle Dorsiflexors (Tibialis Anterior, Extensor Digitorum, Tibialias Posterior), Hip Flexors (Iliacus, Psoas Major/Minor, Rectus Femoris, and core stability (Transverse Abdominis, Internal/External Obliques) on the mobile leg. Balance of the stance leg with activation of the Gluteus Medius/Maximus/Minimis, co-contraction of the Quads/Hamstrings and lower leg musculature.


  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold a dowel or sturdy surface with the hand opposite the stance leg/on the same side of the mobile leg

  2. Slide your foot through the horn of a kettlebell with toes lifted up towards the ceiling

  3. Squeeze the glute of the stance leg as you inhale in through your nose

  4. Lift the kettlebell up by driving the knee towards the ceiling as you exhale through your mouth

  5. Pause at the end range for 2-5 seconds, keeping your foot, knee and hip in line with each other

  6. Slowly lower the kettlebell back towards the floor

  7. Repeat on the other side

  8. Repeat as prescribed

Main Cues:

  • A coordinated activation of ankle dorsiflexors, hip flexors, and deep core of the mobile leg with solid stable balance of the stance leg is the main focus

  • You should feel muscles working evenly in the hips (front of the mobile hip, back/side of the stance hip), front of ankle/shin, and core

  • Trunk sway should be minimal

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Inability to hold the kettlebell up

Correction: Decrease the weight; Drive the toes up towards the ceiling

  • Pain or pinching in the hip of the mobile leg

Correction: Decrease the weight; Decrease the height of knee elevation to a comfortable position

  • Excessive trunk sway or loss of balance

Correction: Decrease the weight; Hold onto something more sturdy and use your upper body to help so that safe balance is maintained

Why We Love It:

  • Challenges multiple systems - vestibular, proprioceptive and musculoskeletal

  • Challenges the stance leg statically and mobile leg dynamically

  • Involves coordination of multiple joints across both lower extremities and core stability required in many functional tasks

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.


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