There are THREE phases to the “VQ”:
Phase 1: Set up the exercise correctly and establish standing, single-leg balance on the support leg. (If you need to, please refer back to Restoration and Foundation for more guidance on both “Small Foot” exercise and on mastering barefoot single leg balance). Your goal in phase 1 is to focus on balance, posture, and breathing.
Phase 2: Execute a smooth controlled “weight pass” from the support leg side to the supported leg side. This IS the most important part of the exercise for training core stability! (Read that again)
Phase 3: Once you’ve established position with the weight on the opposite side of your support leg, you’ll move an arm and leg into the standing isometric quadraped position.
Here are more details on how to properly execute the VQ.
Refer to the instructional video for additional guidance!
Phase 1: Your goal is to set up the exercise correctly, establishing standing balance on the support leg. Focus on balance, posture, breathing, and focus.
1. Barefooted, stand tall with your feet approximately 6 inches apart, keep good posture, no bend in your knees, looking straight ahead.
2. Check your breathing. It should be a good diaphragmatic breath that originates in your belly, not in your chest. Connecting the breath to the movement is essential for optimal stability and control.
3. Holding the weight in your left hand, prepare for your left leg to be your support leg.
4. Remember, you will repeat these same movements on the opposite side to train both sides.
5. With your left leg as your support leg, slowly extend your right leg out in front so that your foot is approximately 6 inches off the floor, standing only on your left leg.
6. Re-check your posture and breathing.
7. You should feel active hip engagement on the support side. If you do not, put a very slight bend in that support side knee. Look to feel more hip engagement.
Phase 2: Your goal is to execute a smooth controlled “weight pass” from the support leg side to the supported leg side. THIS is where stability either happens or it doesn’t. Think about it!
1. Slowly and with control, begin to transition the weight from your left arm/hand to your right.
2. As you are going through the transition, maintain balance, control and most importantly, integration between your upper and lower body throughout. *This will be increasingly difficult as the weight, which was on your support side, is moved over to the other, unsupported side.
3. If you lose your balance and are forced to “kickstand” or touch the floor with your supported foot, go back and return the weight to the left hand and restart the transition again.
4. Once you have completely transitioned the weight from the support arm to the unsupported arm, hold that position for a minimum of 3 to 5 seconds before proceeding.
5. The goal is smooth, controlled, balance and integration.
6. Important: make sure to maintain an absolute straight line right up through the center of your body connecting your trunk and legs. *A very slight weight shift may be needed toward the supported side, to ensure absolute integration.
Phase 3: Your goal now is to move an arm and leg into the standing isometric quadraped position.
1. Once you’ve established balance, you’ll slowly flex your right hip and raise your right knee to parallel and left arm straight up into the air, in one smooth, controlled motion.
2. Re-establish balance and integration.
3. Engage your back by dropping your shoulders and pinching your shoulder blades together. Create total trunk integration.
4. Hold a static position maintaining a straight vertical arm, reaching for the ceiling while also maintaining back integration, and a high knee position.
5. Aim for a minimum of 15 seconds with absolutely no movement as a starting point.
6. Repeat on the other side, e.g. with the KB in your right hand, bringing your left knee up to parallel. Proceed as outlined above.
7. The goal is to progress from a 15sec “hold,” increasing by 5 sec intervals, eventually to 1 minute or more of static hold.
8. Once you master the weight pass, and a static hold for 1 minute, you’re ready to increase the weight.
9. *Make a mental NOTE of what differences or asymmetry exist standing on the right leg vs. on the left leg.
How much weight should you use?
For this Level 1 training, your first goal should be to learn the VQ without a weight in your hand. You could practice it as though you had load in your hand – think of it as an imaginary load.
Why? Mastering the mechanics of the movements, all three phases, without weight, will make it easier at first. Your brain learns much more quickly and easily when we “chunk” skills in this manner.
Once you’ve mastered the mechanics and are very familiar with all three phases, you can then proceed to training with load.