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8 legs, bums & tums exercises to do at home

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/content-hub/feed?newsItem=8a17841b71405cd30171a08a77a96d88

COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Now more than ever it’s important to prioritise your wellbeing, both physical and mental. These articles are to help you stay active and look after your wellbeing during this unprecedented time.

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1. Lunge

What it’s good for: Quads, glutes and hamstring strengthening. Improved posture and range of motion.

How to do it: Whilst keeping your upper body straight with shoulders back, take a step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees are flexed close to 90 degrees, ensuring your front knee doesn't go beyond your foot. Stabilise the body and return to the starting position.

How to progress: Grab a rucksack and fill it with some household items to add resistance. Complete the exercise whilst wearing the rucksack on your back. Alternatively, grab a weight of household item, such as a bag of sugar and perform the exercise whilst holding it against your chest.

How to regress: Reduce the range of movement by not lowering both knees as close to 90 degrees or place one hand on an object e.g. the back of a chair whilst performing the exercise to aid balance.

2. Squats & half squats

What it’s good for: Quadriceps, glutes and hamstring strengthening. Improved posture and range of motion.

How to do it: Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Keep your eyes forward, slowly bend the knees and drop your hips to lower your body. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the exercise to avoid strain or injury. Alternate repetitions between full (to 90 degrees) and half range of movement.

How to progress: Add an explosive element to the exercise by including a jump to each full squat that you perform. Ensure that you push through your feet and engage your core as you drive up and cushion your landing with soft knees.

How to regress: Focus on the half squat movement only with a reduced range of movement.

3. Sit ups

What it’s good for: Abdominal and core strength.

How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your knees bend at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms and place your palms on your thighs. Slowly curl torso, raising your head and shoulders. Throughout this exercise, keep your abdominal muscles tight.

How to progress: Grab a weight or a household item, such as a bag of sugar. Complete the exercise whilst holding it against your chest.

How to regress: Reduce the range of movement by raising your upper body only half the way up.

4. Squat pulse

What it’s good for: Quadriceps, glutes and hamstring strengthening.

How to do it: Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Keep your eyes forward, slowly bend the knees and drop your hips to parallel with the ground. Focus on small, controlled repetitions keeping the major muscles in your lower body contracted throughout.

How to progress: Grab a weight or a household item, such as a bag of sugar. Complete the exercise whilst holding it against your chest.

How to regress: Perform the pulse movement with your hips in a higher position and a reduced range of movement.

5. Flutter kicks

What it’s good for: Mid and lower abs, glutes, hip flexors, quads and adductors.

How to do it: Lie on your back and extend your legs up to a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms straight and in line with the floor, palms facing down. Place your hands beneath your hips to add support to your lower back. Lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the floor. Keeping your legs straight with your toes pointed, start lowering one leg. Raise your lowered leg and lower the other, focusing on keeping your core engaged.

How to progress: Slow the speed of the repetitions down with an even greater focus on controlled repetitions.

How to regress: Bend your knees slightly or perform the exercise with your legs in a more elevated position.

6. Reverse leg lifts

What it’s good for: Glutes, lower back, core, legs.

How to do it: Get down on all fours and place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms on the floor and knees under your hips. Raise one leg up as you squeeze your buttocks, extending the knee and pushing the sole of your foot up towards the ceiling before lowering it back down slowly. Return to the initial original position and repeat the movement with the other leg.

How to progress: Add 2-3 pulse movements at the top of each lift keeping your sole pushing upwards.

How to regress: From a kneeling position on the floor, place your hands on a sofa or a chair to provide more support for your upper body and perform the exercise in a more upright position.

7. Side leg raises

What it’s good for: Glutes, hips and thighs.

How to do it: Lying on one side with your top leg stacked on top of the other, lift your upper body and support on your forearm. Keeping your top leg straight, raise as high as you can ensuring you are pivoting from the hip and control back down. Just before your top foot rests down, raise back up and repeat.

How to progress: Use your top had to push down on your top leg slightly to add resistance on the upwards phase. Alternatively (or as well), raise the bottom leg whilst performing the exercise and hover just off the floor throughout.

How to regress: Bend your top knee to 90 degrees and continue with the same movement.

8. Reverse crunches

What it’s good for: Mid and lower abdominals, obliques, lower back, hip flexor strengthening.

How to do it: From a seated position with your palms by your side and gently gripping the floor, engage your core and lean back from the upper body. At the same time bring your feet off the floor, extend your knees and push your heels away from the body. Co-ordinating the upper and lower body together, return to your original position whilst keeping your feet lifted.

How to progress: Take your hands off the floor and bring them together in front of your chest. Performing the exercise this way will challenge your balance and core stability further.

How to regress: At the furthest point of each repetition, touch your heels down to the floor before bringing them back in towards your hips.


Leo Parnell-Notice

Leo Parnell-Notice Health and Fitness Instructor, Warwick Sport

Leo has a background in athletics and personal training and enjoys the sense of achievement from learning something new. He loves all sports, especially trying new ones.


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