A common injury in the fitness industry is an overuse injury of the shin. Shin splints are a term that is used for any pain or soreness along the medial tibial periosteum, which is below the knee joint. This pain can range from dull to sharp and localized or generalized pain in this area. These injuries are most common with activities like running, skipping rope, playing tennis, and running up hills. Single-leg balance exercises can help to prevent these shin splint injuries by strengthening your calf muscles.
Benefits of Single-Leg Balance Exercises
The benefits of single-leg balance exercises include hamstring muscle activation, prevention of shin splints, and balance. Single-leg exercises such as the RDL allow you to strengthen your hamstrings as well as your calf muscles through functional movements that can be done at home or in a gym. Lifting weights with squats and deadlifts will lengthen the hamstring muscle whereas single leg activities like running, skipping rope, and playing tennis will strengthen the hamstring muscle in a shortened position. Hamstring injuries are common in athletes who overstress this muscle group in a lengthened position. The RDL exercise can help to prevent hamstring injuries by strengthening your hamstrings, which helps protect you from further injury and assists in future activity. Shin splints have been referred to as a syndrome because there is no specific diagnosis that encompasses all the various causes of lower leg pain. Shin splints are most often an overuse injury that can be caused by:
increased activity or intensity without proper preparation,
running on hard surfaces such as concrete,
running uphill or downhill,
wearing improper shoes for the activity,
having a muscular imbalance such as tight calf muscles.
By strengthening the calf musculature through single leg balance exercises such as the RDL or one-legged squat you can help to prevent future shin splint injuries by increasing the amount of stress that your anterior tibialis muscle (shin muscle) can withstand.
Single-Leg RDL Muscles Worked
The single-leg RDL exercise is a great way to strengthen your hamstrings, which in turn can help you prevent hamstring injuries in the future. Single leg balance exercises are also great because they will activate your hamstrings while they are in a shortened position. I’m sure that there are tons of running-related exercises you can do for this if you’re not too keen on doing the RDL exercise.
Single-Leg RDL No Weight
If you are new to the exercise or are still rehabilitating an injury, you can do the single-leg RDL without any weight. Simply stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent and lean forward slightly at the hips, keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles.
Single-leg RDL at Home
If you are not able to go to the gym, you can still do single-leg balance exercises at home. One great exercise that you can do is the RDL. To do this exercise, stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent and lean forward slightly at the hips, keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles. You can also do one-legged squats at home. To do this exercise, stand on one leg with your knee bent and squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles and glutes.