As the world comes to terms with the global pandemic, we are quite lucky to still connect with people virtually and motivate them to do things. For me training indoors or outdoors has never been an issue. Although I am a huge outdoor training person, nothing stops me from still doing what I love doing. Training.
So, I've prepared a leg work out which can be done in a small square or in your living room which will keep you fit and strong no matter what. If you are a runner – even better. These exercises target your primary running muscles and improve your stability.
Exercise 1: Lunges
Description: Remember, lunges can sometimes do more harm to your knees than good if done wrong. Watching your posture and alignment is the key for any exercise especially lunges and squats.
Muscles it works: Thigh & gluteus muscles
How to do it: Begin by keeping your upper body straight, with your shoulders sitting just above and in line with your hips and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don't keep looking down) Step forward (in flexion) or backward (in extension) with one leg.
Lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far or over-shadowing your toes.
The back knee need not touch the floor but stay close to the ground rather than staying high. Keep the weight in your heels with the front leg and stay there for about 30 secs to feel the lactic burn in those thighs & gluteus muscles.
As you push back up to the starting position take a few seconds break and switch legs.
Reps: 3 sets of 30 secs hold on each leg<br>
Exercise 2: Single leg balance with toe touches
Description: One of the primary exercises for any runner is a single leg balance. Running is a single leg activity, hence; to strengthen your unilateral movement is key. Keep at it everyday to build your confidence.
Muscles it works: Gluteus muscles
How to do it: Begin by keeping both your feet hip width apart. Slowly raise your right leg off the ground and up in a 90 degrees angle.
The standing leg knee should be soft and not locked. At no point should your knees be locked in this exercise. Hold the balance for about 1 to 2 mins to start waking up the gluteus muscles and once you feel confident, slowly reach forward with your right hand to touch the toe of your (left) standing leg as you simultaneously push the right leg back into the air in a full extension. If you cannot touch your toes, don't panic.
Reps: 3 sets with 10 toes touches on each side
Exercise 3: Kneel to squat
Description: Kneel to squat are a glute activation and strengthening exercise. Their purpose is to teach and strengthen that powerful hip extension is what you need on squats and deadlifts. They are similar to ‘hip thrusts' and excellent for women who are looking to work on their buttocks.
Muscles it works: Buttock muscles
How to do it: Start in a tall kneeling position with knees as wide as hips. Hinge from your hips and Sit on your heels. Raise yourself up again and bring your right knee forward then left knee forward and hold a squat with chest up, knees bent at 90 degrees and feet hip width apart.
Reps: 15 reps of 3 sets
Exercise 4: Squat Jack
Description: Squat jacks very similar to jumping jacks (but in a squat position) are meant to fire up those quads and glutes and can be called a great calorie-burning powerhouse.
Muscles it works: Quad and gluteus muscles
How to do it: Begin, by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out, in a deep squat. Put your arms in a namaste position with elbows bent and close to your chest. Jump up explosively, bringing your feet together and clapping your hands above your head. Then jump with your feet apart, land with control, and lower your body back into the sumo squat position with hands up to complete one rep. This is also cardiovascular along with strength.
Reps: 15 reps of 3 sets
Ayesha Billimoria, Brand Ambassador, Under Armour India, is a three-time national champion (2001-2003) in 200 metres. She has represented the state of Maharashtra for 17 consecutive years, and has held several national and state titles, along with being named the ‘Fastest Girl in India' in her teens.