Strengthing Drive Leg


#1

My son is 15 and is a freshman this year and is a left handed pitcher. He just started to lift weights with me as his partner about a month ago and I noticed something that seemed odd. He had a pronation in his left foot and has had orthotics for flat feet since he was little. The pronation has gotten better and some of the flatness has improved too, but he still needs orthotics in his shoes.

While doing squats I noticed he seemed to get more drive off of his right foot. It just didn’t seem like he could stay symmetrical when weight was added and ended up trying to get more push out of his right foot. There is no pain, just that his right leg is stronger.

Being a left handed pitcher you would think his left foot would be stronger, so my question is what can I do to add more strength to his left leg. Here is what I have in mind. I plan on getting some professional help here, but I would like to get an idea what the right questions are to ask.

  1. Jump rope - 2 and 1 foot.
  2. 1 legged hip sled presses.
  3. 1 legged extensions
  4. 1 legged hamstring curls

#2

Try single leg Romanian Deadlifts and Lunges. If he gets strong enough, then do pistol squats.


#3

this^^^^ what slewbacca said.

you really don’t want to use any machines whatsoever. Stick to the free weights, as the machines were created for muscle definition in bodybuilders, not for sport specific athletes. You have to let gravity take it’s toll and use ground-reaction forces to your advantage.

Deadlifts are great and you should also implement Bulgarian Split squats.

Bulgarians:

I would also recommend purchasing eric cressey’s show and go starting strength training book, I purchased it when I was 15 and IT helped tremendously.

Here Is Cressey’s website. He specializes in baseball strength training.

http://www.ericcressey.com/baseball-content

goodluck


#4

Good info guys, thanks. I assume this can this be done nightly along with whatever other weights we are doing? We are currently doing full body workouts 3x per week. With school starting now trying to get 4 or 5 days/week of weights along with homework will be next to impossible.

This stuff can be done at home, so this is a win-win for us.


#5

Avoid asymmetry, of course, but, there is less concern that his brace leg is stronger than his drive leg than if you worked harder on his left leg and he changed to the other way around.


#6

I think part of my concern is that he has the pronation in his left foot. I suspect he grew up using his right leg more to overcome the pronation in his left (or maybe it is just naturally dominant). It seems to be noticeably weaker during squats, but that may be the pronation causing some stability issues. I am having a PT look at it in a week when we can get in with him.

I don’t expect him to ever be entirely balanced, but I think this Epiphany is at the right time to start putting more focus on that leg during the off season.


#7

[quote=“leiting”]I think part of my concern is that he has the pronation in his left foot. I suspect he grew up using his right leg more to overcome the pronation in his left (or maybe it is just naturally dominant). It seems to be noticeably weaker during squats, but that may be the pronation causing some stability issues. I am having a PT look at it in a week when we can get in with him.

I don’t expect him to ever be entirely balanced, but I think this Epiphany is at the right time to start putting more focus on that leg during the off season.[/quote]

Does his knee cave in when he squats? If so, he may need to strengthen the external rotators of the hip. Gray Cook has some corrections for that.


#8

[quote=“Robertvilla32”]

Deadlifts are great and you should also implement Bulgarian Split squats.

Bulgarians:

The first athlete in the youtube video appears to favor his left leg over his right leg…

How typical is this favoritism? I suffer from slight pain in my left knee when performing singe leg exercises such bulgarian split squats and RDLs.

My left knee is my lead leg when pitching


#9

I am going to bring the Ipad to the gym and shoot some video tonight and post. Let me explain what I see. When starting to squat (i.e. sit down) with weight, it is like his bottom slides to the right and his left knee kind of slides right too. He has orthodics in his shoes and shoes with really good support, but I’m not sure if his foot is sliding in his shoe or what exactly is going on. It kind of looks like he is sitting down, but mid sit down he realizes he isn’t quite centered on the chair and slides over as he sits down. He said he feels like he has no drive out of that foot which makes me think it may be his pronation rolling over as he goes down and pushing his knee to the side. He would have little drive with his knee pushed inward. We all know how 15 yo kids communicate, so I’m not exactly sure other than what I see.

We have an appointment next week with the orthopedic surgeon that prescribes his orthodics about it. I’m trying to get in with the trainer at the gym before then so I can talk intelligently to the doctor. I would think long term given the motion there is would be a lot of lateral stress on his knee. There is surgery to correct his pronation, which I think is basically a tightening of the tendons. I am afraid that is what will need to be done to give him a lifetime of good squats, but so be it if that is what it has to be.

When he does a barefoot squat with no weight on the kitchen floor it is pretty easy to see the pronation just roll the inside of his left foot down and the outside of his left foot up. Ultimately I just want him to make good progress from a strength aspect, but this needs to be addressed before he gets an injury that is worse. Thankfully he isn’t in heavy weights yet and is just starting.

Long story made short, I’m not exactly convinced that it is strength so much as the pronation. I didn’t think to shoot the video until this morning. Thanks for everything.

The caving becomes more noticeable at about 95 lbs, maybe a little less. That is with 25’s on the side of the 45 lb bar.


#10

How is his hip internal and external rotation from left to right?

How is his ankle total range of motion from left to right?

Have you cued him to drive his knees out or put a miniband around his knees during a squat to force him to drive the knees out?

Who says you have to squat to get better?

Unilateral work is your friend.

Your top 3:

Barbell Reverse Lunge w/ Front Squat grip

Bulgarian Split Squat

Sled Work (forward, backward, sideways)

In addition, you must absolutely strengthen the lateral hip and external rotators. Gluteus medius, minimus and maximus, TFL.

Monster Walks and mini-band side shuffles should be staples in every workout or part of his daily warm-up.

Foam Roll the quads, adductors, abductors, calves and thoracic spine each day.

If it’s a structural thing maybe there is less he can do, but it probably isn’t. Still worth getting it checked out by a specialist, but don’t even think about surgery if he is functional and not in pain. You can accomplish everything you want in life without squatting and a lot of imbalances seem to go away after following a well structured program for a while.


#11

Here is an update. I spent quite a bit of time watching Youtube on squat mechanics and we went to the gym last Tuesday and did a workout. We worked on pushing his knees outward and driving from the heels while pointing his toes with some outward angle. Squats looked much better, so I’m hoping it was mostly a mechanics thing.

I missed his Friday lift, but we went back and lifted today (Sunday). He started his first set of squats with only the bar. Here come the sitting down sideways over his right foot, just like when he had more weight on the bar. He basically was putting most of the weight on his right foot and sliding over. Me being a concerned father, my next question was “WTH are you doing”, haha. We worked on correcting that and his squats looked much again.

We have an ortho visit Monday and a PT on Thursday, but I am highly doubting that pronation is the issue. I am thinking left side strength may be an issue yet, but not when using only the bar. That would leave mechanics, unless somebody wants to put out another educated guess. I have never seen him do it with just the bar before today. He has been using running shoes with his orthodics, but I think I will get some flat soled high tops like Chuck Taylors for days we work legs.

I originally thought strength was the issue. As a parent, the pronation came to my head since it was probably the worst case scenario (yeah, I’m guilty). I think I am back to left side strength and squat mechanics, which is a big relief. I plan on integrating in the exercises you guys mentioned, but I am also looking for feedback from our ortho, PT, and trainer at the gym. Thanks for everything, keep the good info coming.