Thursday, April 6, 2017

3 Reasons to do Single Leg Work

Picture this!

You are standing in line at the bank,  it's a busy day so you are there a for a while.  Initially, you have relatively good posture.  After some time you take out your phone start playing with it and before you know it you find yourself shifting all of your weight onto one leg, the back is rounded down looking at your phone and that nagging ache in your lower back starts saying "Hi! remember me?".

Chances are you favor that same leg most of the time.  This is natural, we tend to have one limb stronger than the other, after all we are asymmetrical beings.

The issue is not of one leg being stronger than the other as much as it is an issue of loading avoidance of the weaker limb.

When this is the case there should be a graded exposure approach to regaining stability, strength, functionality and more importantly confidence in a single limb stance position.

Which takes us into the 1st reason:

Movement Variability

Exploring movement breeds confidence!

Many times the reason why we feel a sense of doubt before setting out on a new adventure is due to the element of the unknown.  We have not experienced it before, hence we are uncertain of the outcome.  The same concept applies to the body.  If we don't put ourselves in these positions our body does not recognize them and consequently we lack control.

Exploring movement in a graded manner sets up a platform where you progress through variations of a movement with each variation setting the foundation for the next one.

This is crucial when our perception of a specific movement is "threatening".  By regressing it to a less threatening movement we increase our time in that position boosting our confidence and setting a solid foundation from where to build upon.

Example: If Single Leg Deadlifts (SLDL) are iffy try single leg weight passes become comfortable on one leg and then progress to the SLDL

When becoming familiar with a new movement initial focus should be on control.

 It's a core workout! Control vs. Load 

While you stand on one leg your body is fighting the urge to side bend and collapse.

How does it do this?  Core engagement!

Yes, step ups are a core exercise...when performed properly.  Focus should be on an upright posture resisting the pull towards the unstable side. This added core engagement promotes proper posture and grooves a more efficient action.

The body should feel comfortable in these single leg positions.  This way, if it ever finds itself in an unstable situation it is more likely to recognize and react accordingly.

Even for advanced lifters becoming efficient at controlling a movement should come before implementing load.  This emphasis on proper form enhances the efficiency of movements, which takes us into the next benefit.

Avoiding Energy Leaks

This added focus on core engagement might demand more energy in the initial stages of training but,  by developing sound movement energy leaks are avoided when they really count.

Owning a single leg stance wether it be through a weight pass or marching drills translates well into sport performance. The key here is to load properly without compromising structural integrity of the movement.

Think about it...

Running is a continuous controlled fall where you are always on one leg.  For this reason by increasing the time spent on each leg individually will be beneficial towards performance.

In Health,

Angel Lopez CSCS

Monday, February 27, 2017

Eccentric hamstring/core work

Eccentric loading of the hamstrings has been shown to be extremely beneficial in the rehab process. Here is a variation using an ab wheel and a cable column to further load things up. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Split Squat with Blood Flow Restriction

Split squats are a great way to build lower extremity strength and stability. Adding a step allows for greater depth to improve hip mobility and further load your wheels. BFR to improve your gainz without adding load. it also allows one to focus on form vs weight. Check out for more info

Kneeling Vertical Row Variation

Over here at SoulPT we like this kneeling pulldown variation which hammers on the anterior core limiting lumbar extension. It will help optimize lower trap vs lat recruitment.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lateral Step Ups with Blood Flow Restriction

BFR or blood flow restriction is a tremendous way to build strength and hypertrophy without exposing yourself to extreme loads. At the most basic level, BFR works to keep anabolic hormones in the area longer for a superior response.
Video 1: Occlusion cuff pumped to 100mmhg. @modernmanualtherapy @motuspt
Video 2: Theraband at 7/10 perceived tightness. •Message or comment for more info on reps/sets/rest/weight to maximize your pump and improve your patients' rehab. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Prone Row Variations for a Stronger Pull


Prone rows off of a bench are equal and opposite to performing a bench press.

They are a great way to crush the upper back without overloading your lower back.

The bench allows one to dissociate thoracic extension from lumbar extension by flexing your hips as seen in the video.  This is much harder to do in a traditional bent over row.

Put a bench on top of some plyo boxes to accommodate a full range of motion.

Get creative and vary depending on your goals or just to promote movement variability.


Barbell Prone Row - Allows one to go heavier - Exact opposite movement of a barbell bench press

Banded - Assisted Barbell Prone Row - Allows one to work the entire range of motion by accommodating the resistance where it is harder to pull.

Kettlebell / Dumbell - Just like other KB / DB exercises allows you to isolate one side to work on asymmetries and clean up movement inefficiencies.  We like to work up to a wider angle out to the side to eliminate the forward roll that can occur with too much shoulder extension

Holds - We like to utilize holds at the end of exercises to build endurance, time under tension and this can add a natural bloodflow restriction which can have hormonal benefits.  Isometrics in a rehab setting can also help modulate pain.

1 arm vs 2 arms - One arm rows require one to resist rotation which adds another core component to the exercise.  You could do one arm or do a static hold with the other arm - that allows for the benefits of a hold as well as the anti-rotation benefit of the one arm.

For more variations and or questions you may have visit and hit us up!


Andy, Matt and Angel

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bird Dog Variations

Bird Dogs which were popularized by the work of Stuart McGill are a staple in many rehab or training programs.  We utilize many different variations of the bird dog at Soul PT.  After watching Joel Seedman's variation with a row, we decided to show off some variations we do in our clinic and explain how we use them.


Bird dogs are great to teach trunk stability on a moving upper extremity, moving lower extremity or both.

A pre-requisite to performing a bird dog with ideal form is to learn the concept of a "neutralish" spine.  A neutral spine is neither arched nor rounded, or the midpoint right between the two.  By staying in this stacked or centrated position it should encourage more stability and position we would ideally be able to maintain during work, life and lifting.

Once one understands neutral spine, it's time to work on stabilizing that on a moving limb.  The traditional bird dog has one lift alternate arm and leg while on all fours, while maintaining a neutral spine.

Benefits of Bird Dogging - Hot Dog Hot Dog Hot Diggity Dog.

By removing a limb or limbs from the floor, it causes your body to resist rotation to maintain postural stability.

Due to the unstable nature of these movements, there is a need for continuous adjustment in order to execute them properly. This awareness will bombard your nervous system with a lot of information which can help modulate pain. It also improves lower back resiliency by grooving proper mechanics.

The next couple of videos, demonstrate different progressions to the regular Bird Dog exercise that you can implement in your weekly routine for a new challenge.

-Quadruped Shoulder Abduction
-Shoulder Abduction with Leg Extension
-Shoulder Abduction in Bear Holds (raise knees 2 inches of ground & hold)

-Vertical Row in Quadruped position
-Row in Bear hold (raise knees 2 inches of ground & hold)
-Bird Dog & Row