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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 22: Lateral and Reverse Single Leg Squat with Valslide

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: Lateral and Reverse Single Leg Squat with Valslide

Purpose: To challenge the stance leg to maintain active stability while the opposite leg moves laterally and posteriorly during a single leg squat

What It Targets: Loading of primarily the Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Foot Intrinsics, Gastroc/Soleus, Anterior Tibialis; Co-contraction of the Hip Adductors, Abductors and Rotators of the stance leg; Co-contraction of the Anterior and Posterior chains of muscle of the stance leg; Co-contraction of the Lateral and Medial ankle muscles; Balance. Basically - a lot!!!


  1. Stand with 99% of your weight on the working leg with ankle, knee and hip in a straight line

  2. Place the toe of the opposite leg on a valslide, or a towel on a hardwood/tile floor

  3. Keeping toes in line with each other and placing less than 1% of your bodyweight through the toes, slowly slide your foot out to the side as far as you are comfortable while loading the hip and quad of the working leg

  4. Return to the upright standing position

  5. Keeping your spine straight, hinge at the hip and allow your trunk to shift forward as and you slide the valslide behind you, again placing no weight on the slider

  6. Return to the upright standing position

  7. Alternate between Lateral and Reverse. Repeat as prescribed

Main Cues:

  • Keep your foot, shin and thigh parallel throughout the entire exercise. Be mindful of your knee wanting to collapse inward

  • Hinge at the hips. You should feel muscle burn in the hip rotators/glutes just as much as in the quad

  • Maintain a stable foot tripod throughout the entire exercise

  • Place very little to no weight on the moving leg

  • Only move the toes as far as you can while maintaining stability and 99%+ of weight on the stance leg

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Knee caving inward

Correction: This illustrates a decrease in eccentric control with squatting/stepping activities and can irritate the knee joint over time. Use a mirror to provide visual feedback of your knee position. Use something to hold onto with your opposite hand to decrease the load on the working leg. Decrease the distance traveled to ensure you can control the entire motion.

  • Feeling it all in the quads and not in the hips

Correction: Focus more on sinking your butt back and taking a bow with your trunk rather than bending the knee

  • Putting too much weight on the opposite leg

Correction: This could potentially result in a wipeout! Move the valside with the toes without putting any weight on them. If you feel like you cannot control the last few centimeters of the motion, decrease the distance traveled.

  • Gripping of the toes

Correction: Focus on placing the weight through your heel and the ball of your foot; Lift the toes up towards the ceiling; Hang the toes off of the front of the foam pad so they don’t have the chance to overwork

  • Arch collapsing inward

Correction: Focus on bearing weight on the outer portion of your foot; Place a band or towel under the lateral border of your foot and don’t lose contact

  • Arch doming too high, big toe knuckle coming off the floor

Correction: Focus on bearing weight on the inner portion of your foot; Place a quarter under the big toe knuckle and don’t lose contact

Why We Love It:

  • Challenges, highlights and coordinates efficient loading patterns of the entire leg with squatting activities with lateral and posterior challenges

  • We love a good loaded single leg activity - it prepares us for all of the time spent on one leg with walking, stair climbing, running, etc

  • Getting really good at this prevents overuse injuries and sprains of the knee, ankle and hip!

*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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