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VIDEO: You can test your 'pillar stability' with one-leg squat or deadlift

In this week's video, Newmarket athletic therapist Jen Mark demonstrates the exercises that will build good quality control of your body — essential for athletes, and anyone who wants to ward off injuries

This is a topic that really gets me excited. Having good quality control of the body is essential for athletes, and anyone who wants to have a strong body. I see lots of people clinically who have knee, hip, and back issues that simply have a hard time controlling movement. 

Your pillar is your leg or legs in extension with your trunk. Pillar stability means that you can hold your one or two legs and trunk still while executing an exercise. It’s common to want to rush through an exercise or a drill in sport, while compromising technique for speed. The catch? This will catch up to you. 

Over time, our bodies are subject to twisting and sheer forces that break down any joint. When the joints are required to lift any amount of weight in a compromised position, they break down slowly over time. Of course, if the load is too much for the joint to hold, a traumatic injury ensues. 

Practising having control of your leg, which also translates to core stability, creates good movement in your joints. When the joints can hold their alignment under stress, your chance of injury really decreases. 

This isn’t just an injury prevention concept. When your joints are stable, you can lift heavier and your performance increases. That might matter to you for elite sport or feeling good after a morning jog or gym session. 

While on one leg, focus on quality foot contact. All four corners of your foot should feel stuck to the floor. Not heavier on your heel, not letting your big toe lift. You will be amazed at the increase in strength, through any exercise, when your foot is properly connected to the floor. For those with fallen arches, practise and master being able to lift your arch off the floor. You can improve your arch with exercise and focus. 

In the video I offer some examples of exercises to help practise good pillar stability. I kept things simple, not necessarily new exercises. When doing these exercises, maybe your focus can change from completion to how you execute. 

I offer the one-leg squat and one-leg deadlift as simple ways to test your pillar stability. Test them from time to time to see your improvement. Always keep your knee in line with your middle toe with your pelvis and shoulders facing forward.

Your back should remain in a neutral position without falling forwards. As you improve, you will see that you can hold your torso upright even while squatting. 

If you are looking for more ideas, want to make sure you are working out correctly, or need treatment for an injury, let’s connect! 

Jen Mark, is a Registered Kinesiologist, Certified Athletic Therapist, and Registered Yoga Teacher at Matrix of Motion Fitness Studios and Sports Medicine Centre of Excellence in Newmarket. Jen is currently the athletic therapist with the Markham Majors Bantams. Jen is also the head therapist and holistic director for the Junior Development Squad with the Men’s program under Field Hockey Canada. Jen uses her athletic therapy for exercise and manual treatments including soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, and muscle energy. 


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