Whether you are cross training for running, cycling, or hiking around your home, leg strength is vital to success and prevention of injuries. Here is a 10 minute leg workout designed to strengthen the gluteals, hip adductors and abductors, quadriceps, and core abdominal musculature. Be sure to maintain contracted abdominals (think belly button pulled under rib cage) throughout the workout.
Bridge with Leg Lift
Lying on your back with feet shoulder width apart, lift hips toward the ceiling. Lift one leg straight out with a flexed foot-then point the toe and lift the leg towards the ceiling. Repeat this 3 times, then set the foot down, followed by the hips. Repeat on the opposite leg, and do this 10 x
Open and Close:
Lying on your back, bring your legs towards the ceiling with feet flexed. Keep knees as straight as possible, and turn feet out slightly so that the inner thighs are sealed together. Point toes and slowly open your legs as far as you can, then draw them closed again. The emphasis here is on zipping the inner thighs back together, and this is where you should feel the exercise. Do this 10 x.
Begin on hands and knees, then draw your right leg out the side with knee straight. Lift the Right leg up towards the ceiling, then draw it down across the midline of the body on the left, as if you were tracing an arrowhead with your foot. Repeat the pattern moving from the left, up to the ceiling, then setting back down on the right. Repeat 10x on each leg.
Sidelying Hip series
Lying on your side, with hips squared up, lift your top leg approximately 12 inches off the ground, then bring the bottom leg up to meet it, squeezing at the ankles. Lower them down together with control. Repeat 10 on each leg.
Lying on your side, lift your top let up approximately 12 inches, and make small, tennis ball sized circles with your foot, with the motion coming from the hip. Do this 10x, then reverse and do 10 circles backwards. Repeat on the other leg.
Stay tuned for more quick and effective workouts, I will be focusing on different areas of the body, and using different pieces of small equipment. If you experience pain at any point during these exercises be sure to see your physician and physical therapist!
Enjoy, and make your day great!