Assessing Posture in Single-Leg Stance

Single-Leg PostureEvery coach worth his salt probably realizes that you’re always assessing your clients.

Sure, there’s the initial screen or assessment where you try to determine what they do well, what limitations they have, etc.,

But at the end of the day, you really should be assessing your clients every second of every session with them.

In recent years, it seems as though static posture assessments get a bad rap.

Some people will tell you it’s not dynamic. (These people are also proud owners of the Mr. Obvious award.)

Some will tell you it’s not “functional.”

And some will say it’s not predictive of movement capacity.

I feel as though a static posture assessment is one component of the big-picture, and if you’re doing more than the standard front, back and side pics, you can get some really high-quality information about the client standing in front of you.

When you think about a great piece of art work, it’s the combination of elements that make it great.

Maybe it’s the colors, the contrast, the texture, or a whole host of different things that make it unique, or special, or beautiful.

An assessment shouldn’t be any different.

It’s the combination of tests that gives you a perspective on why a client has specific movement limitations, as well as how they might compensate or cheat to move around them.

More importantly, I’m not going to rely on one test and consider it to be the be-all, end-all of assessments.

Instead, you need checks and balances.

You need different pieces of feedback to help confirm or deny that what you’re seeing is, in fact, what you think you’re seeing.

In the video below, you can see how we evaluate posture in a single-leg stance from the back view.

This very simple test gives us valuable feedback with regards to frontal and transverse plane stability.

Not sounding important? What if this is an athlete and they have to stand on one-leg?

Or run?

Or actually plant and cut?

And worse, what if they have some sort of imbalance or issue, and they¬†can’t “get off” one leg due to a stiff adductor?

Or they can’t effectively load one hip because it’s unwilling (or unable) to accept weight?

The single-leg posture assessment gives us feedback about all of this.

When you combine the single-leg posture assessment with positional testing for the hips and pelvis, basic range of motion testing, and finish it off with some integrated tests like an overhead squat, lunge or step-up, you have a really good idea of how this client is moving.

If you’re interested in learning more about our assessment process, I can recommend our Diagnosis Fitness seminar highly enough.

Not only do you see our entire assessment process, but you spend the bulk of the weekend working with us to refine your assessment skills and make sure you’re more effective when you go home.

Quite simply, this is the most complete assessment course on the market today.

Register Now for Diagnosis Fitness

All the best


BTW – the early bird discount for Diagnosis Fitness ends on March 15th, 2013. Don’t wait! Register today before the discounts ends.


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  1. Onequestion I have is: what is the most typical cause of people shifting into/only loading one hipduring bilateral movements like squat varations and RDLs?

    • Hard to say exactly, but here are a few things:

      – Strength imbalance between the hip abductors/adductors,
      – Difference in internal rotation mobility between sides,
      – Tight/stiff posterior capsule between sides.

      Just a few thoughts – hope that helps!

    • Chris –

      Doubtful – we recorded the original but as for now it’s only going to be a “live” thing.

      In the coming years, I think Bill would love to get it posted online, though.


  2. Mike, follow-up question on static postural assessments. a friend and i were discussing what causes the up/back femur on single-leg RDLs to externally rotate @ end range. my thought is that it is likely similar to the causes of the neutral foot externally rotating on the ASLR on the FMS. mainly difficulty with hip separation as one hip is going into deep flexion, while the other tries to maintain extension. hamstring tonicity as well as tight hip flexors both could lead to that neutral foot rotating. your thoughts?

    • Caleb –

      I think it’s more a function of what’s going on in the down leg. Consider this…

      When you go “deeper” into a single-leg RDL, you’re going into more and more hip internal rotation. If you don’t have hip internal rotation, you’re going to externally rotate to try and create space/more ROM.

      And when you externally rotate on the down leg, the pelvis is going to fly “open” and see that net effect on the “up” leg. Make sense?

      Just my .02 – but it makes sense to me!

  3. Hi Mike,

    As always a good video. I have to say, having done this for 20+yrs, I find a whole heap of information in static posture and when combined with specific movements, the big picture is clear to see. This stork test is great for assessing sacroiliac function and glute balance.


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