Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strong Leg Drills

**Courtesy of Runner's World Magazine
Balance On One Leg:
Stand upright on one foot.  Slightly bend the hip, knee, and ankle of the weighted foot.  Keep your balance without having to catch yourself with the other leg.  Build up to a minute or more.  To make this exercise more difficult, try it with your eyes closed.  Beginning in week three, start doing this exercise with a Bosu Ball.

One-Legged Squats: 
Put all your weight on one leg and, with the unweighted leg behind you for balance and support, lower your body until the weighted knee reaches roughly 90 degrees, then slowly come back up.  1-3 sets of 6 to 12 reps.  Once this feels comfortable, try the squat with your eyes closed.  Beginning in week three, start doing this exercise on a Bosu Ball.

Straight Leg Lifts:
This exercise assists in retraining the large quad muscle (the VMO) to fire correctly.  Lie on your back with the working leg straight and the non-exercising leg bent near 90 degrees.  Lift the working leg 12 to 18 inches and hold for five seconds with the toe pointed toward your head and rotated away from the center of your body.  The burn should be felt in the large quad muscle.  3-5 sets x 10/leg.  Progress to ankle weights.

Single-Leg Bridge:
Lie on your back with your arms at your side.  With one knee bent at 90 degrees and other straight, raise your hips off the ground.  A straight line should follow from the shoulders, to hips, knee, and ankle of the extended leg.  Hold for 3 seconds, lower, repeat.  Work both sides.  1 set x 10 reps.  Progress to multiple sets of 10 - 20/leg.

Hip Abduction:
Lie on the ground on one side with the arm closed to the ground extended and legs straight.  Use the other arm to brace your body.  Lift the upper leg in a scissor-like motion.  Hold for 3 seconds and lower. 1 set x 10 reps.  Progress to multiple sets of 10 - 20.

Looking straight ahead, with hands on hips, take a big step forward, bend the knee and lower your body so the front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle.  This slowly push back up and step back to the original position.  Start with 6-8 reps on each side.

Write the alphabet with your toes.

Ankle Circles:
Make five slow clockwise then counterclockwise turns with each foot.  Repeat five times.

Back Extensions:
Lie face down on the floor and place your hands behind your head.  Contract your abs and keep them contracted throughout the movement.  Squeeze your back to lift your chest a few inches off the floor.  Lower and repeat 1-3 sets x 8-12 reps.  To increase difficulty, lift your legs off the floor at the same time you lift your chest.

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