One Weird Trick: Installment 1 – Half Kneeling

You ever see those ads online, talking about trying one weird trick to lose weight, or to gain muscle, or to attain anything instantaneously? I hate those ads, as most things worth sacrificing for involve zero tricks and lots of foundational work.

However, I’ve come to the realization that many of the things that I’ve come across in the fitness, strength and conditioning industry, and rehabilitation world are often thought of as “one trick that changed it all” for a few often commonplace items that begin with foundational knowledge. 

This series won’t have some scam – in fact it will legitimately give you a weird trick that will actually work, as there are tons of them that I have accumulated over the years of training pro athletes, weekend warriors, and everyday folk who wants to lose weight.

Legit Tricks of the Trade

One position I utilize quite a bit with many of our athletes and clients involve a half kneeling position.

Half Kneeling Med Ball Scoop Toss

Well, fact of the matter is that sometimes people don’t set up correctly. When they don’t set up correctly, an incorrect movement strategy may be setting up with knee valgus on the front leg (or knee caving in towards the midline), or the back leg pushing the lower back into lumbar hyperextension.

This problem is easily resolved – provide better cuing in whatever capacity to achieve a 90/90 position, with the top leg’s knee being directly over the ankle, and the knee from caving in.

Half Kneeling Exercises

The back side will have a dorsiflexed ankle (or sometimes, plantar flexed in order to avoid certain issues at the ankle joint), and the down knee will be directly underneath the hips in order to facilitate a better position overall.

However, this isn’t where the “one weird trick” comes into play. What happens if you achieve that coaching strategy flawlessly – everything looks good, but then when you ask them to row, press, chop, or lift from a half kneeling position, they lose position right away!

By applying a mini-band on the front leg’s ankle, and the back leg’s knee, you can achieve a co-contraction of sorts, that reinforces stability for someone who cannot control their single leg pattern.

In fact, this can be introduced into many other half kneeling exercise variations:

Now, utilizing the mini-band to stabilize is not something that you need to do for weeks on end. Instead, aim to recreate a feeling, and improve spatial awareness. After you’ve solidified this feeling, remove the band and request your athletes and clients to own that position as you continue through your half kneeling exercises by feeling those same muscle groups as a reference center.

Happy lifting!

As always,

Keep it funky.


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