Secondary Muscle Groups: Hip Abductors, Hip Adductors
The 1-Leg Bench Squat is a great introduction to the more advanced, 1-Leg Squat. Able to be performed anywhere there is a chair, bench, or bed, this particular exercise is a great way to make your lower-body exercise routine a little more challenging without adding any extra resistance beyond your own body weight. In addition to the benefits of the regular squat, the 1-Leg Bench Squat challenges the stabilizing muscles of the knee and hip, improving tracking of the kneecap and helping to avoid conditions such as osteochodritis and patelofemoral syndrome.
Strengthen the leg and hip in a way you’ve never done before!
Standing in front of a bench, flex one hip to 90-degrees so that you are standing on only one leg. With your foot flat on the floor, hinge the torso forward at the hips and bend the knee and flex the hip, bringing yourself to a seated position on the bench. Inhale as you come down. Exhale as you extend your hip and knee, returning to standing position. Make sure that knee does not come farther forward than the toe and your back stays neutral as you come down to seated position. Repeat this movement for the required number of repetitions, then switch sides and complete the exercise on the other leg.
Recommendation:Start with 8-10 repetitions on each side. Perform 2-3 sets. Discontinue the exercise if it places too much stress on the knee.
Ok, I think the name says it all. Don’t ask me the etymology of the word, but the image you’ve conjured up in your mind probably fits the bill. If you’re not familiar with the Burpee, it is a great total body exercise that does not require any equipment, yet leaves you feeling like you’ve just completed a full gym workout. There are a few variations for all fitness levels, which you will find in the video below. Give this one a try, if you dare…
Chair Dips x 15 Chair Squats x 15
Prone Cobra x 10
Do all three exercises in the circuit back to back, then rest for 60 seconds, and repeat the circuit one more time. All of the highlighted exercises have been “Featured Exercises” in the past, and have links to instructions. For instructions on any of the others, just leave a comment and I will be sure to explain. Push-ups can be on your feet or kneeling, whichever you need. You can feel free to add weight to the Reverse Lunges and Chair Squats with dumbbells, a medicine ball, or anything that adds weight like water jugs or small children (I have used this one myself). For a greater challenge, increase the repetitions on some of the exercises, or do 3 sets instead of 2. Be safe, and always stay within your level of fitness!
The Side Push-off Lunge is another great exercise working in the frontal plane (side to side or lateral). Like the Speedskaters, it works the muscles of the hips by bringing the legs out away from the body. This makes the exercise effective for strengthening the muscles of the outside of the hips, as well as loosening up the muscles of the inner thigh. Done correctly, this exercise is very effective for counteracting the tightening effects of walking, running, cycling and sitting, all done with legs close to the midline of the body. It is also a great exercise for those who enjoy activities such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and dancing, which involve lateral movement of the lower body. Here’s how it goes:
Starting in an upright position with hands at your sides (empty or holding dumbbells) and feet together, step out to the side with one leg and shift the body weight over that leg, keeping the other leg planted on the ground. Bend the outside knee and bring the body down towards the ground, reaching the hips back behind you and hinging forward at the waist, keeping the back in a neutral position and bringing the hands or dumbbells down, one on each side of the bent knee. The planted leg should remain straight or nearly straight. The bulk of the weight should be on the bent leg out to the side. You should feel a slight stretch in the glutes of the bent leg side. Using the muscles of the glutes, push off the ground and back towards the planted leg, returning to standing position. Switch sides and complete the same instructions on the other side. Only bend the outside knee as far as you feel comfortable, and keep the knee behind the toe so as to eliminate excessive forces at the knee. The key to this exercise is the lateral movement. You should be stepping out to the side, and then pushing yourself back to the middle, forcing the muscles of the outside of the hips to engage. This one may take a little practice, but give it a shot. Be safe and enjoy!