Straight Leg Raises (SLR) – Prone
This exercise is intended as a strengthening exercise for the Hip Extensors (Gluteus Maximus, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, Biceps Femoris, Piriformis). When used in conjuncture with the other straight leg raises (supine/adduction/abduction) it allows for a well balanced approach to developing all the major muscle groups surrounding the knee and aiding in increasing knee joint stability.
Why do this Exercise?
To increase strength of the hip extensor muscles, to aid in increasing posterior (behind) knee stability and allow proper muscle balance surrounding the knee.
This exercise is to be performed while lying on your stomach. It can be performed on a floor, table or bed (the firmer the surface the better). You want to lie with your legs straight out on the floor behind you. Place the folded towel under the thigh of your affected leg just above your knee.
Concentrate on contracting/tightening the muscles on the back of you leg, your hamstrings and your buttock while maintaining a straight leg. While holding the contraction and keeping your leg straight, slowly begin to lift your heel/leg up off the floor. Focus on keeping your hips flat on the ground; do not allow your hips to rotate backwards as you perform the exercise. Lift your leg up approximately 6 inches off the floor. Hold the position for 5 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back down to the floor. Relax the muscles completely for 3-5 seconds and then repeat. You may find that when starting out this exercise you are only able to lift your leg off the ground a few inches, that’s OK. Repeat the exercise for 10-15 times, rest for 1 minute, and repeat 2-3 sets. This exercise should be repeated 1-2 times per day.
This exercise should only be performed within a pain free range of motion. Do not continue this exercise if there is pain, swelling or a significant increase in skin temperature (skin becomes hot/warm to the touch). The recommended repetitions are here to serve as guideline. Keep in mind that each person is different and you must modify your activity according to the feedback your body provides. If you feel your muscles getting fatigued (a good thing) and you begin losing control (leg begins twitching) stop and return to the exercise at another time. Do not use quick jerky movements with this exercise; it is intended to be performed in a slow and controlled motion. You can monitor your feedback by monitoring your progression through the exercise on a daily basis. Are you able to keep your leg straighter, lift it higher off the ground and have better control throughout the motion? Also, compare it to your unaffected leg; this will help to give you a goal to set for yourself.