This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Single leg flat bench stand-ups improve strength and balance evenly in each of your legs. This exercise develops quadriceps, hip flexors, and hamstrings while also building core strength. Start with the most basic level and work your way up—sitting and standing will take on a whole new meaning.
Sit on a flat bench with your knees bent, your feet in front of you, and your arms down at your sides. Your feet should be directly under your knees (see Photo 1). Raise one foot off the floor and hold it in the air in front of you (see Photo 2).
- From the starting position, use only the foot on the floor to raise yourself to standing (see Photo 3). You should remain on only the one foot throughout.
- From the upright position, use the same one base leg slowly to return to sitting. Your hips will push out behind you as you sit.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 above for a full set of stand-ups with the right foot on the floor. Then switch legs and perform another set with the left foot down. As you do these stand-ups, be careful to keep your hips square and your core strong. You do not want to arch your back or collapse your center.
To create a more intense version of this exercise, cross your arms over your chest, with each hand resting on the opposite shoulder. For the most difficult variation, place both hands on top of your head throughout the exercise (see photo 4).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.