Top 3 Under Utilized Unilateral Exercises for a Stronger Squat
Cossack Squats are, how I like to describe them, an ATG lateral lunge. When performed correctly this exercise can help build the muscles that when weak or untrained can cause knee valgus, increase dorsiflexion and ankle mobilization, build glute strength, and develop postural stabilization of the trunk (which assists in preventing excessive forward lean during the squat).
Terminal Knee Extensions
TKE’s are a banded knee extension with a number of variations and levels of difficulty. The easiest being having a mini band around your knee pulling forward, performing a flexion to full extension at the knee joint. A higher level of difficulty variation involves a heel drop from elevated surface. In the heel drop variation, the banded leg is elevated and the opposite legs’ heel lowers to tap the floor before the full extension of the banded knee. TKE’s are not only a staple in post knee surgery rehab but this exercise equally promotes healthy knee joints, full knee extension/ROM for lock out, quad strength and hip stabilization for the healthy individual/lifter.
Band Paloff Press
This popular core exercise is great because there are so many variations that it can be adjusted and specialized to fit any athletes needs. This anti-extension core exercise (limited lumbar extension) impacts far beyond just the RA and oblique’s. By the nature of the exercise, the resist in rotation by the band (or cable) also activates the entire side being pulled against, which increases trunk stabilization and improved hip stability.
**See 3rd source listed below for several variations**
All 3 of these exercises touch on each area that is important in building a more stable and strong squat from beginning to end.
- The health of the knee joint and its ability to fully extend at the start and end of the squat
- Glute strength to control decent of the squat and power output through the accent
- Trunk stability needed for strength and stabilization under load and resisting excessive forward lean (especially during the assent phase),
- Hip stabilization that goes hand in hand with the overall control and technique of the squat
- The hip and ankle joints that require significant strength and mobilization to generate optimal power
- And all factors of which are related and can contribute to fixing knee valgus.
It is safe to say, considering these structures and the mechanics involved, you will find these exercises can truly benefit any athletes technique, form, and overall strength.
Author: Alyssa Parten