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Workout Wednesday: Back to basics with leg exercises

Learn all of the basic movements, muscle interactions and the correct form for classic leg exercises. Each move is taught with band options.
Credit: KUSA

DENVER — Being stuck in your house does not mean you can't complete a full-body workout.

As a certified personal trainer, I've redesigned all of my workouts for my clients and members to fit within a small room of their homes, using nearly 100% body weight, resistance bands and/or small hand weights.

Every day must start with a warm-up. I always encourage dynamic stretching, which is moving while you stretch. 

Use a double-pull for each of your lower body parts. For example, pull your knee to your chest twice, your ankles back twice and your feet toward your chest in a pigeon twice. That allows your muscles to activate and then elongate. A short jog in place or mock jump-rope is also encouraged.  

Today's workout is focused solely on leg muscles. It's important to group your strength training workouts on different muscle groups to ensure your maximum efforts, and to leave you ready for the next day -- instead of too sore to lift your finger or your toe!

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY Back To Basics: Leg Day

Posted by Arielle Orsuto on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

WEEKLY WORKOUT: (12 reps, two times through)

Squat Series

  • Standard Squat
    • Start with feet shoulder-width apart and a band around your thighs. Sit back as if you're sitting in a chair, so you're leading with your butt (glutes). Make sure your knees track with your feet and do not go past the toes. Sit back up and slightly thrust your hips forward. Repeat 12 times.
    • Once you finish 12 regular squats, go to your lowest point of your squat and hold for 12 counts.
    • Once you finish your 12 count hold, return to the starting position. Then return to the lowest point and pulse 12 times.
  • Chair Squat
    • Move your feet in from shoulder-width until they nearly touch. Your thighs should be touching. Repeat all movements you just did with standard squat.
  • Wide Squat
    • Move your feet into a "W" formation: wider than standard squat with the feet tracking out to the corners of the room. Repeat all of the same exercises as you did above.

Lunge Series

  • Standard lunge
    • Start in a staggered position with one foot in front of you and one foot in back of you. The band should be around your thighs. Your body should be directly even above your legs. Bend both knees and lower your body, keeping your upper body completely straight, while allowing your knees to bend at two right angles. Repeat 12 times.
  • Lunge lift and squeeze
    • Repeat movement for standard lunge. Once you return to starting position after the first lunge, lift the back leg off of the ground and squeeze your glutes. Return the leg to the starting position and repeat 12 times.
  • Side lunge
    • Start with your legs to each side of your body. Stick your butt back and lean to one side, stopping when your chest is above your thigh. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.
  • Side lunge lift and squeeze
    • Repeat movement for side lunge. When you return to the starting position, lift the leg that was being used. You should feel this in your hip. Repeat 12 times.

Deadlift

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart and your back flat. Keep your gaze about three feet in front of you to ensure a safe, flat back. Start with the band underneath your feet. Grab the band with both hands and reach down to your feet. Using your hamstrings and lower back, lift yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.

Calf Raises

  • Start with band underneath one foot. Lift your heal and repeat 12 times.

The most important part of every workout is the cooldown or stretch. Spend roughly 10 minutes on your stretch session, and no less than 15 seconds per stretch. 

Start from the bottom and work your way up, stretch your hamstrings, hip-flexors, glutes, hips, lower back and quads, before moving to your upper body. Then stretch your shoulders, triceps, back and finish with chest.

Drink plenty of water, especially after your stretch. Once your muscles have been stretched out, they need to be replenished with fluids.

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