Build Balance and Strength

The single-leg squat will give you a solid foundation.

Though you hardly notice it while you're walking, running or otherwise moving about, you spend much of your life shifting your weight front one leg to the other.

Lower you risk of injury (and improve athletic performance) by developing balance and strength in one leg at a time. The move? The single-leg squat. It is the toughest (and best) one-legged exercise around. Here's how to work up to it:

1. Set a box or bench beind you that's tall enough so that you can squat onto it without losing your balance. Stand on one leg with the other raised in front of you, hold your arms out in front of you, and keep your chest high and back upright.

2. Lower yourself onto the box. Now press your heel into the floor and straight back up, exhaling as you rise. Lower the height of the surface that you squat onto over time. When you can sqquat onto a 30 cm box, lose the box entirely and do the squat on its own.

Can't master the single-leg squat just yet? Here are two easy ways to get there:

Use a counterweight: Hold a 4-9 kg medicine ball in front of you, and as you squat, pull the ball in to your chest. From the bottom position, thrust the ball in front of you again, using it as a counterweight to help you stand up.

Stand on a box: Place your support leg near the edge of a box and let your free leg hang straight down. Squat down until the toes of your free leg touch the floor and then come back up. Raise the height of the box as you improve.