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Leg day is an important part of any fitness routine that many people want to skip. Whatever the fitness routine is - regular gym workouts, outdoor activities, or contact sports like martial arts and boxing, strengthening your lower extremities is an important investment.
Focusing solely on your core and upper body muscles is not enough. Keep in mind that you rely on your lower extremities to execute important movements most especially in martial arts. Strong lower extremities also aid in keeping your balance and stability.
To strengthen your legs, you don’t always have to go for the strenuous routines. There are low-impact exercises you can use as an alternative, most especially if you are recovering from an injury.
Importance of Exercising Your Lower Extremities
- Burns more calories
- Develops thigh and leg muscles
- Produces additional power
- Reduces the risk of knee and back injuries
- Builds endurance
- Balances your physique
- Improves coordination
- Boosts metabolism
- Increases agility
Low-impact Exercises You Can Add to Your Routine
The following workouts are easy to do even if you are suffering from leg pain. However, keep in mind that if you have existing health issues, you should get clearance from your doctor to see if your body can tolerate the routine.
If you are suffering from a bad knee caused by medical conditions such as knee osteoarthritis or tendinitis, consider a knee brace for safety and comfort while performing any form of exercise.
Squats with Stability Ball
Put the ball in between the wall and your back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands relaxed on your sides. Lean slightly back and slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Go back up to your starting position. If you need something challenging, modify this by holding weights. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps.
Lie on your back with knees hip width-apart and bent. Your feet should be flexed and your toes off the floor. Only your heels should be touching the ground. With arms by your sides and palms facing down, lift your hips up.
Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs as you press down on your heels. Hold for three seconds then slowly go back down. Do three sets of 15 reps.
Start off in a standing position and keep your arms by your sides. Step out to your right side using your right foot as you stick your butt back. Lean to the right and straighten your left knee.
Stand straight again then do the same to the other leg. Consider this as one rep. Try to go for eight reps on each leg.
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Raise both legs, keeping them straight the entire time, and have your heels touch each other. Lower legs to the floor until they’re hovering just a few inches then open your legs out to your sides and slowly raise them until the heels are back together like you are drawing a circle from bottom to top and back again. This completes one rep. Try to go for 15 reps per set and finish off after three sets.
Lie on your left side and prop your upper body using your elbow and forearm, palms facing down. Keep your right leg straight and bend your left leg to serve as an additional support. Your right hand should be behind your ear. This is your starting position.
Then, lift your hips and right leg until it’s just a little over your hip level. Hold for three seconds or whatever feels comfortable and go back to your starting position. Do 15 reps and repeat on the other side.
Single Leg Deadlift
Stand on your right leg and hold a pair of dumbbells. Extend your left leg to the back and lean forward at the waist while keeping your back straight. Slightly bend your right knee as you lower your hands to your mid-shin level.
Your left leg should never touch the floor. Slowly go back up. Do the same for the other side, repeat for 8 times on each side.
Place a resistance band around your shins. Stand straight with your feet one foot apart. Hands on your hips, keep your core tight and your back straight.
Take a big step to the right then step the left foot in but observe the hip-width distance between your legs. Go for eight steps on each side.
These low-impact exercises are suitable for people who recently suffered from any lower extremity injury. These movements may not be as grueling but they’re just as effective in strengthening your lower body and aid in your recovery.
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing. Working to motivate others and defeat aging stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and aging all the way to social, news, and inspirational pieces...the goal is to help others “rebel against age”.