Great Legs from Hips to Heels - Part 2
by our Health Coach

As promised last week, we have some more free do-at-home moves to add or rotate into last week's suggestions to get your legs well on their way to looking and feeling fabulous.

Hips/Glutes (Butt Area)
Pelvic Circles:

  • Relax on your back with your legs hip-width apart.
  • With both knees bent, put your feet on the floor.
  • Your arms should be at your sides, palms down.
  • Keep head and shoulders relaxed.
  • Contract your butt muscles and hold your abs in tight while you rotate and tilt your pelvis toward the ceiling with a slow, deliberate motion.
  • Repeat 8 times.


Hamstrings (Back of thighs)
Squat: (it's a good idea to check your form in a mirror the first few times you try this move)

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your hands on your hips.
  • Slowly lower your body, until you are in a ‘sitting position’. (The front of your thighs should be parallel with the floor.
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds and then slowly stand up.
  • Repeat 12-15 times.


Quads (Front of thighs)
Quad Lifts:

  • On your back, bend both knees and put both feet on the floor.
  • Relax your neck and shoulders with your arms next to your body.
  • Slowly straighten your right leg, while keeping your right thigh in line with your left thigh. Slowly bring the leg back down.
  • Repeat 8 times for each leg.


Abductors (Outer thighs)
Outer Thigh Press:

  • Lie on your right side with your left arm in front of your chest and your right leg bent for support.
  • Lift your left leg so that your foot is several inches off of the floor.
  • Pump or press your left leg up several inches for a short range of motion (2-5 inches) 8-10 times.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Repeat with the right leg.


Adductors (Inner thighs)
Inner Thigh Press:

  • Lie on your right side with your left arm in front of your chest and your left leg bent in front of you and your inner foot on the floor for support.
  • Keeping your hips aligned, lift your right leg so that your foot is several inches off of the floor.
  • Press your left leg up several inches for a short range of motion (2-5 inches) 8-10 times.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Repeat with the right leg.


Knees
Knee Press: (the knee press is like the quad lifts, except that it has a shorter range of motion)

  • On your back, bend both knees and put both feet on the floor.
  • Relax your neck and shoulders with your arms next to your body.
  • Raise your right leg so that the right thigh is in line with the left thigh.
  • Bend your right knee about 30 degrees and pull it toward your chest.
  • Repeat 8 times for each leg.


Shins
Toe raise: (of particular importance to runners and speed walkers)

  • Sit on a chair and put your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your heels on the floor and raise your toes toward the sky.
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds and then return your toes to the floor slowly.
  • Repeat 12-15 times.


Ankles/Feet
Linen Lifts:

  • Sit on a chair with your knees about shoulder width apart.
  • Drop 6 washclothes just in front of your left foot
  • Use your right foot to pick them up (one at a time) and move them to a spot in front of where your right foot was.
  • Use your left foot to move them back.
  • Repeat 3 times.

As we reminded you last week, it is important to follow these general rules when doing these or any other exercises:

  • Go slowly at first -- don't overdo it.
  • Add more repetitions only as you get stronger.
  • As the repetitions become easy, you can add hand or ankle weights as appropriate.

Dancers and athletes have some of the most beautiful legs in the world, and they know that for gorgeous, shapely legs, you have to work your leg muscles deliberately from every angle. Strengthening and toning all of your leg muscles from top to bottom, front to back and side to side will not only make them more beautiful, but it will add a little spring to your step while allowing you to walk with more grace and poise.

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