Strength Testing with Single Leg Squats

assessment Feb 15, 2018

The single leg squat (SLS) is a test used to assess dynamic hip control and lower limb function and has practical relevance to any sport involving landing, cutting, or running (Stickler, Finley, & Gulgin, 2015).

The patient performs a unilateral squat as many times as possible from a standardised height, such as a plinth or bench, with comparison in repetitions and movement-control between sides noted.

The non-tested leg is held freely in space with no contact between the ground or testing leg permitted (Alenezi, Herrington, Jones, & Jones, 2014). During the SLS, the hip abductor muscles serve to limit pelvic drop and hip adduction, reducing abnormal forces on lower limb joints (Hollman et al., 2009).

Research on this test has revealed the following:

  • Patellofemoral pain is linked to the presence of increased hip adduction in female athletes during the SLS, suggesting hip control and/or strength deficits (Noehren, Hamill, & Davis, 2013)
  • Links between poor hip abductor strength and low back and/or lower limb injury in collegiate athletes (Leetun, Ireland, Willson, Ballantyne, & Davis, 2004)
  • Better quality of life at one and three years post-ACL reconstruction in those who could achieve at least 21 repetitions during the SLS (Culvenor et al., 2016)


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