single leg hip hingeI like to experiment with exercises. Sometimes in the middle of a workout I’ll think, “Hmmm, what if I do xyz when I abc?”

And then I’ll try it.

It makes things fun (well, except if you happen to be my workout buddy on the day I come up with the weird new things. Then, you become a guinea pig).

Today was one of those days. I’m in week 3 of my “starting-over” situation and I’m coming back from some injuries. My back and hips don’t want me to lift heavy weights. Or sometimes any weights at all.

But the good news is, if you’re tricky, you can still get a great workout even if — with apologies to Toby Keith — you’re not as good as you once was (at certain things, anyway).

At the end of today’s workout I wanted a “finisher” exercise that would work balance, the core, my stabilizer muscles and, most importantly, put the finishing touches on the muscle groups I was trying to target: the butt and the back of my legs.

Single-leg exercises tend to rock when it comes to waking up the glute muscles, and the good news is you don’t have to use heavy weights to make them effective.

I came up with this, and yes, it was effective as a butt burner exercise (ouch!). The challenge for the next time I do this: go deeper and stay straighter.

Form tips: Make sure the hinge comes from the hip — your back/ribs need to stay long and strong, the shoulder blades slightly pinched together.

It’s helpful to roll your shoulders up, back and down, and then engage your abs to hold your shoulders in place. Then, tip forward from the hip, finding a spot on the floor to look at and use your eye gaze hold your balance.

All that’s left is to bend and straighten your knee for however many repetitions you want to do (10-15 is great on a move like this).

Note that the heel of the supporting leg stays firmly planted on the step for the entirety of the exercise.

This varies from a single-leg squat, when the leg is stretched out in front of the body rather than extended behind. When you bring the leg in front of the body for a single-squat, you are targeting the quadriceps (front of the leg) in a big way.

By hinging forward and sending the leg out behind, the focus moves to the back of the leg/glutes.

Try this and let me know what you think!  Was this helpful? Give it a “like” or a share! I appreciate it.

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