The Knee-up hold is an activation exercise to establish thigh separation – full flexion of the hip on one leg while maintaining full extension of the hip on the other leg. To accomplish this, the athlete must activate the hip flexors and the hip extensors in opposition.
Activation can be defined as process whereby something is prepared or excited for a subsequent reaction.
Using activation exercises as a tool to teach body control and postural awareness leads to improved angles, force production, and movement efficiency.
Oftentimes performed on a daily basis as part of a warm-up due to its positioning of both the foot and the pelvis.
Recommended 4x each leg (1-second each hold).
The Key to think about is having that center pressure beyond the big toe, pinky, and just in front of the heel.
What that stability allows is this sweeping motion of the other leg forward and not picking that leg up.
Setting up the correct angles
The other fundamental, as we start to think about this movement, is we should end up with that foot equal to the knee of the down leg, and the shin lines up with the same angle as the down leg as well to apply force downwards.
Using your abs and your glutes as that position is held allows you to maintain a very vertical, upright position. Using the abdominals helps bring that pelvis forward and not over-rely on the back to create that vertical stability.
Some areas that often go wrong:
Leaning Back Excessively
We don’t want to emphasize that motor program where you hyper-extend that lumbar spine. Want to make sure that we’re nice and upright to avoid these types of injuries that stress the lower back.
Rotation during that stance, which twists the body, could particularly be harmful to hinge joints like the knee.
This movement can be utilized for individuals with poor stability. An example in the Sparta software is on the balance scan, where the Sway velocity is significantly higher on one side which represents insufficient stability compared to the other side.
The Knee-up hold is a simple, fundamental exercise that is well suited for any warm up regardless of the training emphasis of the day.