The exercises below are examples of basic core and leg strengthening exercises.
Crunch exercises work the abdomen.
- Lay on the floor in a neutral position.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart about 12 to 16 inches away from your glutes and point your toes forward.
- Place your fingertips by your ears with your elbows out to the side.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
- Exhale and raise your head and shoulders off the floor.
- Stop when you feel your shoulder blades are completely off the floor.
- Inhale and slowly roll back down.
- Be sure to keep your elbows back and not to pull on your neck. Your head should stay in line with your torso throughout the entire movement.
Lunge exercises work the glutes and front and back of the thighs.
- Stand with your chest lifted, head looking forward and neck and shoulders relaxed with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Place your right foot about 3 feet in front of your left.
- While you inhale, slowly lower your body toward the ground, bending your knee and keeping the upper body straight.
- As you lower your body, your left heel will lift off of the floor.
- If you can, lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Your right knee should be at a 90 degree angle or less. Do not go lower than this.
- Pause for a moment and slowly return to your starting position while exhaling.
- Repeat 8 to 12 repetitions on this leg and then change legs.
- If you need help with balance during this exercise, place your hand on a chair or a desk.
- To add difficulty, perform the exercise while holding dumbbells. Be sure not to let the shoulders roll forward.
Lying Leg Raise
This exercise will work the lower back.
- Lay on a mat on your back with your arms at your side and your head in a neutral position.
- Exhale and raise both legs (or one leg at a time) slightly off the floor.
- Inhale and then lower your legs (or leg) back down, stopping just before they touch the floor.
- Do not raise your head as you raise your legs.
You will work the glutes and front and back of the thighs with this activity.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees and your toes pointing forward.
- Lift your chest and look straight forward.
- Relax your neck and shoulders.
- Your hands can either be placed on your hips or held straight out in front of you parallel to the floor.
- As you inhale, push your hips back and slowly lower the body.
- Keep the thighs parallel to the floor with the knees forming a 90 degree angle.
- Exhaling, slowly return to the starting position.
- The movement should be similar to sitting or getting out of a chair.
- Be sure that your knees do not go over the toes when you are lowering your body.
- The movement is in the hips and knees, so your torso should stay relatively upright during the lowering of the body.
- When you return to the starting position, do not lock your knees.
- For extra balance, hold onto a wall or a sturdy chair for support.