[2020 Leg Workout for Women] Stephanie Joanne’s 10-Minute Exercise to Strengthen Your Lower Body
Warm-up: 1 minute
Start by doing jumping jacks; progressively begin to exaggerate the movements in your arms and legs by bringing your arms higher above your head and creating more of a bend in your knees until you are doing a mini-squat.
Skiers’ Lunge: 2 minutes
Works: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and outer thighs (abductors)
Start with your hands on your hips and feet together.
A. Lift your left foot off the floor and move your left leg so it is on an angle behind your right leg. Place the left foot as far to the right behind your right leg as possible without moving your hips to either side.
B. Lunge down by bending your left knee as close as possible to your right ankle. Hold for one second before pushing into your left foot and returning to the starting position. Switch to other side; repeat back and forth.
Easier option: Stand in front of a wall and place your hands on it for balance. Lower your knee just halfway down toward the opposite ankle.
Glute Kickback: 1 minute
A. Start on your hands and knees (on a mat or carpet, if you like). In this position, be sure to keep a flat back with a neutral spine. The neck should be in line with your back. Keep your eyes on the floor slightly in front of you.
B. Lift your right knee off the floor and kick your heel up toward the ceiling, maintaining a flat foot. To help you maintain the correct position with your foot, imagine that you are trying to make a footprint on the ceiling. Pulse your right knee up and down within a range of just two inches, maintaining constant tension in your glutes. After 30 seconds, release and switch sides.
Easier option: Instead of pulsing, bring your leg back down to the floor after each repetition. Start over from starting position each time. Continue on the same leg for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Clock Lunge: 2 minutes
Works: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves
Stand with feet together and hands on your hips.
A. Take a big step forward with your right leg into a lunge, lowering your left knee to about one inch from the floor, with the heel off the floor. Keep your right foot flat. Hold this position for a moment and spring off your right foot back to the starting position.
B. Repeat this movement with the right leg, but this time position your right foot to the right of your first lunge-at an imaginary 1 o’clock position. Repeat again, stepping your foot to 2 o’clock, then return to the starting position. Switch to your left leg, starting straight in front of you at 12 o’clock. On your left side, your second lunge will move toward 11 and then 10 o’clock. Alternate sides with the three lunges each until the two minutes are complete.
Easier option: Step right leg into a lunge for three reps per side without switching angles each time. Lower the back knee down only halfway.
Plié Squat and Pulse: 2 minutes
Works: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs (adductors)
A. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with both pointing outward.
B. With your arms straight out in front of you and parallel to the floor, lower yourself into a squat until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Keep both of your feet flat on the floor for the entire movement. Pulse gently in this position by coming up about one inch and right back down again (to 90 degrees) before returning all the way up to starting position. Repeat for two minutes.
Easier option: Place your hands on your hips, and complete the move without the pulse.
Chair Pose: 1 minute
Works: Quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings|
A. Start with your feet together and hands on your hips.
B. Lower your body down as if you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your back flat and avoid looking down at your feet-rather, look at a point in front of you to maintain a neutral neck. Once your upper legs are about parallel to the floor, hold this squat (or “sitting”) position for 10 seconds and return to starting position; rest for one breath. Lower yourself back down and count to 10 seconds; continue cycle for a total of one minute.
Easier option: Hold for five seconds instead of 10; lower yourself only about one foot instead of going into a “sitting” position.