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5 Leg Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

If you are menopausal you may have noticed that you are not as strong as you used to be. That is very common but quite concerning. I’ve worked with many older clients. All of them agree that they want to maintain their independence as long as possible, but many of them lack one of the key components to maintaining independence. That component is leg strength.

5 Leg Exercises you can do Anywhere

Leg strength allows us to stand up from a chair, climb stairs, and safely get down on the floor to pick something up. It also allows us to keep doing the things we love like hiking, dancing, cycling or even running. You want to build that foundation of strength now, so you can enjoy your life as long as possible.

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to introduce you to five leg exercises that I like. They all use big muscles and are compound movements allowing you to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. I've also included instructional videos for each. 

If you want to build leg strength pick one or two of these and do them 2 to 3 times per week. Some of these exercises are easier than others. You want to be feeling a burn after 10-15 repetitions (per leg if single sided). If you can easily do 15 with good form, then try a harder exercise or add some free weights. You can do a second set of 10-15 after a 30-60 second rest. Any more than 15 repetitions in a set and you are working on endurance and not strength or muscle building. 

These exercises focus on the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh) and the gluteus maximus (your bottom). I will be publishing a guide to core exercises that includes hip muscles, so stay tuned.

Chair sit stand

I like the chair sit stand better than a regular squat. It helps you to sit back more and for many women go lower than they normally would with a squat. If you are already awesome with low squats, then pick one of the harder exercises below.

Stand a few inches in front of the chair with your feet pointing straight ahead. While pressing into your feet and keeping your chest up, sit down on the chair and then stand back up. That is one repetition. Lead with your hips when going down. 

I like to think of this as you are sitting down to watch TV. You don’t want to miss anything so you are looking at the TV. You sit down and realize you need to change the channel on the TV (remember the days before the remote control) so you stand up again.

Back Lunge

Many women find the back lunge is easier on the knees than the front lunge. Start with your feet hip width apart. Take a big step back (to your toes) and lower your hips towards the floor. The front knee should not go forward past the toes. Ideally your back knee will almost touch the floor. Alternate sides. 

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Chair step up

This exercise focuses mostly on the quads. 

Stand in front of a sturdy chair or bench. Step up on to the chair with your right foot and lift yourself up to standing on the chair. Keep your right foot on the chair and lower your left foot back to the floor. That is one repetition. Keep doing this for 10-15 repetitions and then repeat on your other side.

 

Single leg squat

The single leg squat is a great multi purpose exercise. It helps with balance and it  helps strengthen the leg and ankle muscles. It is great to do in front of a mirror to monitor side to side differences. 

Stand on one foot with the other knee bent. Bend at the knee and hip of the standing leg. Try to keep the hips steady throughout.

 

Split squat

Similar to the back lunge, but staying in one position, the split squat focuses on one side at a time. 

Step your left leg back so you are on your toes and bend your right knee slightly. This is your starting position. Lower your hip bending the front knee and the back knee almost to the floor. The back foot should remain elevated on the toes. The front knee should not go past the toes. Hold onto something if you have trouble with balance.

 

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If you have questions about these exercises, feel free to contact me or join my Facebook group to discuss how to lose weight and stay fit during and after menopause.

5 leg exercises min

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