Working to improve and/or maintain dynamic stability in the lower kinetic chain can reduce injury risk, decrease joint pain, and improve performance. Further, having the ability to produce and absorb rotational force equally on the left and right side will help safeguard the ankle, hip and knee during higher loads or athletic maneuvers.
Choose an appropriately weighted medicine ball or Dynamax ball for this exercise. It should be one that allows for good form and stability, while also challenging balance, yet not creating a loss of balance consistently on every repetition. Position the body about 2-3 feet from.a concrete or reinforced plyo wall for this activity.
Begin standing on the left leg (the left leg will be nearest to the wall) with the knee bent about 30-40 degrees. Next, slowly rotate away from the wall, and then follow through and rotate torward the wall releasing the ball at or near shoulder height. As the ball bounces off the wall, catch it, control it and slowly allow the natural counter rotation to occur that initiated the first toss.
The goal is to maintain the stance knee position in such a way that the kneecap is pointing straight ahead at 12 o’clock. Perform 5-10 repetitions and then switch to the right leg. For this drill, both the right and left leg will be the balance leg as the torso rotates and releases the ball into the wall and then catches the rebound. Once all repetitions are completed on each leg, turn the body 180 degrees to face the other direction and repeat the throws on the left and right leg.
Perform 2-3 sets of 5-10 quality repetitions on each leg. The focus should be on creating movement on the throw and controlling (resisting) rotation on the catch without touching down with the unsupported foot. However, it is perfectly acceptable to use the other foot to help prevent a full loss of balance and to continue the exercise. Depending on the throw height/trajectory, pace of the throw and timing of the catch, maintaining balance will be challenging.
1. Increase the weight of the ball
2. Increase distance from the wall
3. Increase pace or intensity of the throw
The exercise is designed to facilitate dynamic lower body stability and connectivity between the ankle, knee and hip. Most injuries in sports occur in the transverse plane where a rotational force (pivot, twisting, cutting, etc.) causes harm to the leg. Practicing this weighted single leg throw promotes better hip and knee alignment under load while coordinating movement between the shoulders, torso and hips. It is effective for all rotational athletes and clients who may need to eliminate strength or stability imbalances on either side.
Note: Be cautious using this exercise with any clients who may have existing meniscus injuries, patella-femoral instability or acute rotary instability in the knee.