In honor of my most recent birthday party at a local bowling alley (I am actually a five year old) I bring to you today the bowler squat. The bowler squat is a single-leg multiplanar mobility/balance/strength exercise for the knee and hip. Even though it is called a squat, it is more of a deadlift with rotation type exercise because though there is some movement at the knee, most of the movement occurs around the hip.
This exercise is a multijoint exercise, so just like in the past, I feel name a few of the bigger muscles used, but remember that there are several muscles activated to support the ankle/foot/core/trunk/head/scapula. The main target in my book is the gluteus maximus. This exercise effectively challenges the glutes to both lengthen and activate in a weight-bearing position in all three planes
- Other muscles worked include: gluteus medius, deep lateral rotators, Quad femoris, hamstrings, adductor magnus, gastrocnemius, soleus
Movement of the bowler squat
Start in a standing position with a shoulder width stance. Lift one foot off the ground and hinge through your hips while making sure to keep slight knee flexion in the plan leg. Bend your trunk over and bring the arm of the raised leg forward and across your body. Your raised leg will simultaneously move backward to create balance. Lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor, making sure not to round the lower back (aka keep in neutral). Return to the start position all the way upright and end with a glute squeeze.
Benefits of the bowler squat
Some of the benefits have already been discussed but they include:
- Challenges dynamic single leg balance
- Challenges three dimensional mobility of the hip joint
- Activates muscles around multiple joint of the lower extremity and core
- Challenges the glutes in multiple planes, which is required for higher level activities
Additional tips for the bowler squat
- Tell the client to pretend like he/she is trying to pick up an object with the plant foot to improve balance
- In order to ensure full motion during the exercise, tell the client to aim for a target on the way down
- Make sure to watch the knee to make sure it does not move too far forward over the toes