Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm thinkin' thighs today. Are you?

I talked about calf muscles yesterday—did you try the workout?—so I figured that today's post should be about the upper portion of your lovely lower limbs. Think quadriceps (image left), plus your hamstrings and gluteus bootius (image right). And yes, technically it's gluteus MAXIMUS but I think BOOTIUS is better. Don't you?

So combine the following with yesterday's moves for a good overall leg burn. Keep your abs tight through every move for an added core blast. Oh, but first—STRETCH! STRETCH! STRETCH!

1) SPLIT SQUATS: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips, then take a giant step forward so that your legs are two to three feet apart. This is your starting position. Slowly lower into a lunge, then return to start to complete one rep. Don't let your front knee cross over your toes, and always keep your weight centered—no rocking forward when you lunge down! Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch legs. To increase intensity, hold dumbbells.

2) ONE-LEG SQUATS: I love this one! Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Shift most of your weight to your left leg, leaving just enough weight on the right to keep you balanced. (You may need to move your right leg forward just a hair to increase comfort.) Squat as if you're sitting down in a chair, putting all of your weight into your left heel to keep your knee from crossing over your toes. Eyes forward, chest up. Do 10 to 12 reps, repeat on the right side.

3) DEAD LIFTS: Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and dumbbells in front of your thighs. (If you don't have dumbbells, it's ok. Improvise as safely as possible or go without.) Bend forward at the hips until your back is parallel to the floor—it's very important that you keep a straight back, no arching! And don't lock your knees. Slowly return to starting position, pulling with your glutes and hamstrings, to complete one rep. Do 12 to 15 reps.

4) LEG EXTENSIONS: Target that gluteus bootius! Grab an exercise ball and position it on the floor beneath your chest, using your legs and arms to balance. Lift your right leg as high as you can to feel your bootius contract, then lower. If you don't have an exercise ball, stand facing a chair and lift your leg behind you—keep your hips square to the chair so that all of the work remains in your buns. Do 12 to 15 reps and repeat on the left leg. If you're on a ball, you can lift both legs at once to increase difficulty.

Does that make sense? If my descriptions are unclear, please let me know. I don't want you to get hurt!

Depending on your fitness level, you may wish to run through the above two times. Add the calf muscles in at the end, and then stretch once you're totally finished.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Thanks Tara...these are great exercises along with all the other ones that you have given us to try and do...I love reading your daily dose..


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