Leg Exercises

Glute Extension

Begin the exercise on all fours, maintaining a neutral spinal position. When ready to begin, lift the leg, pointing the foot to the sky, while maintaining a 90-degree knee bend. Hold for 5 seconds, and then return to neutral position. Complete 10 repetitions before alternating legs.

This exercise targets the glute complex. These muscles are crucial in managing low backpack, ensuring day to day ease of movement.

Lunge

Begin by standing upright with a neutral spine. To engage the muscle of the right leg, take your left legs backward resting your weight on your toes. Begin descending until both legs produce a 90-degree angle. Slowly and safely return to neutral position by ascending, then returning the left leg to its original position. Continue alternating legs until a total of 20 repetitions is achieved.  Repeat for 3 to 4 sets.

This exercise targets the quad group, glute group and plays a role in improving balance. These are crucial in developing the muscles responsible for safe and efficient day to day activity.

Single Leg Squat

Stand in neutral position in close proximity to a supporting surface. Begin holding on to the supporting surface, ensuring stability throughout the movement. If you are attempting to target your right leg, bend the left leg, holding it at 90-degrees. Then begin the movement by slowly bending the right leg as you descend towards the ground. Your knees should not pass your toes as you descend; begin ascending before this point. Complete 10 repetitions for sets of three, daily if possible.

This exercise works by targeting the quad complex. This is an important muscle group that helps many recover from ACL surgeries, Patello-femoral pain syndrome and a wide array of other knee conditions.

Single-Leg Raise

Begin the movement by laying on a flat sturdy surface, with both legs extended.  If you are attempting to target the right leg, then begin by bending the left one, ensuring that the corresponding foot is firmly planted on the ground. Begin lifting the right leg off the ground maintaining a straightened knee meanwhile. Raise the right leg to mid-shin level, and then return it slowly to the ground. Repeat the movement 10 times, on each leg, for 3 sets.

This exercise targets the quad complex, the iliopsoas and illiacus. All of which are muscles responsible for appropriate hip function and if strengthened can help in alleviating low back and knee pain.

 

Standing Exercise – Glute

Begin by standing in front of a firm, sturdy surface. Stand upright, maintaining good posture throughout the movement.  When ready, extend your leg behind you, ensuring that it remains straightening throughout the movement. The lower, mid and upper back should remain neutral throughout. Complete ten repetitions of this movement, before moving on to the other leg.

This exercise targets the glute complex. This complex contains a powerful series of muscles that are active in day to day function. When they grow weak, they can often cause, amongst other things, severe lower back problems.

The nature of this exercise allows it to target core muscles that help with trunk rotation and side-to-side stability. Strengthening these muscles will ensure safety when performing day to day activities, alleviating the risk of injury.

Standing exercise – Lateral Raise

Begin by standing in front of a firm, sturdy surface. Ensure that the spine remains in neutral position with legs straightened. Initiate the movement by moving either the left or right leg away from the midline of the body, holding the contraction for 5 seconds at the height of the movement, and then return it to neutral position. Complete 10 repetitions before alternating legs.

This exercise targets, amongst other things, the gluteus medius. This muscle is crucial for single leg balance, when transferring from one chair to another and assists with day to day activity.

Standing Exercise – Hamstring Curl

Begin by standing in front of a firm, sturdy surface. Ensure that the spine remains in neutral position with legs straightened. Begin by bending the desired leg at the knee. Stop the movement at 90 degrees, holding the contraction for 5 seconds before returning to neutral. Complete 10 repetitions before alternating legs.

This exercise targets the hamstring complex, which can often be weak and tight due to prolonged bouts of sitting and desktop work. Weakness can eventually lead to knee and hip pain and dysfunction.

Standing Exercise – Anterior raise

Begin by standing in front of a firm, sturdy surface. Stand upright, maintaining good posture throughout the movement.  When ready, extend your leg in front of you, ensuring that it remains straightening throughout the movement. The lower, mid and upper back should remain neutral throughout. Complete ten repetitions of this movement, before moving on to the other leg.

This exercise targets the major hip flexors. These muscles are active in day to day function. When they grow weak or tight, they can often cause, amongst other things, severe lower back problems and compromise one’s posture.

Standing Exercise – Hip Flexion

Begin by standing in front of a firm, sturdy surface. Stand upright, maintaining good posture throughout the movement.  When ready, bend the hip and knee simultaneously as you begin to raise the legs. Ensure a 90-degree angle is created at both the hip and knee junction. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly return to neutral position. Complete ten repetitions of this movement, before moving on to the other leg.

This exercise targets the major hip flexors. These muscles are active in day to day function. When they grow weak or tight, they can often cause, amongst other things, severe lower back problems and compromise one’s posture.

Bed Hamstring Stretch

On a sturdy surface, begin with your leg stretched in front of you, and the other off the bed, firmly planted on the ground. Place both hands on the leg that is in front of you and slowly lean forward. As you begin to lean, ensure that the back remains in neutral position, with the neck and shoulders aligned. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds before returning to neutral position.

This exercise remedies any tightness exhibited by the hamstring following long bouts of inactivity. Prolonged tightness of the muscle, due to lifestyle choices, can leave it susceptible to injury and facilitate the onset of knee and hip pain.

Piriformis stretch

Lie on your back on a sturdy surface and bend both knees. Place the left leg on the right leg, then hold on the right shin with both hands. Slowly begin to lean forward using your back and not your neck. Ensure that the back remains in neutral position, with the neck and shoulders aligned. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds before returning to neutral position. You can switch legs and repeat the stretch.