By Elizabeth Towe

Do you ever have knee pain while running? It can often be caused by weak hip stabilizers.  When we do repetitive movement in the same plane of motion (sagittal movement like walking, running, cycling), we can get weak in the other planes of motion from neglect (frontal-sideways, transverse-rotation).
This exercise increases strength and hip stability (lateral hip strength).  It is important to be able to control excessive lateral motion above and below the pelvis.

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Towe   Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Towe


  1. Start standing by standing on the right leg, in single leg stance, shoulders relaxed.
  2. Brace lower abdominal muscles and step sideways into lunge, descending slowly by bending the lunge at the hips, knees, and ankles, and keeping the stance leg straight and foot flat on the floor.
  3. Keep most of your weight in the lunging leg and AVOID letting your back arch as you descend into the lunge. Sit into the hips.
  4. While keeping the chest up, rotate torso and reach across body to the outside of the lunging leg.
  5. Use your hip and thigh muscles to push yourself up and back to the starting position. Engage abdominal muscles to draw knee up to the front. Stick the single leg stance momentarily before returning to a side lunge position.
  6. Complete 10-15 repetitions before switching to the left leg.  Repeat 2-3 sets on each side.
    For increased challenge, hold a medicine ball in both hands.

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Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their life – and to remember to have fun doing it.