As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are a few lovely ladies out there that don’t feel like they are fit or strong enough to even start Fresh Meat training with their local Roller Derby Team. This makes me sad so I have decided to compile some back-to-basics exercises for girls who have never worked out before in their lives!! Although all of the exercises I’ve discussed so far are for beginners, I want to take it back another step to help build up these little ‘fraidy cats’ confidence.
I’m gonna start with legs.
BACK TO BASICS - LEG STRENGTHENING
If you google leg strengthening exercises, you will be bombarded with a barrage of squat and lunge variations. That’s all well and good, squats and lunges are great, but if you have zero muscles at the moment, you could potentially cause injury by performing them incorrectly.
Squats and lunges should be working your ass muscles (glutes), but most people feel the burn in their thighs (quads) which puts a lot of strain on your knees – bad!
The below exercises might seem pretty lame to the gym bunny, but I personally think everyone should incorporate these into their routine to avoid knee injuries and to equally strengthen their butts and legs.
I do them regularly to help re-hab my dodgy knees. I have really felt an improvement in my injury, but surprisingly also discovered my total leg strength has improved! Win win.
Side Lying Leg Lifts
Lie on your side, ensuring your body is in a nice straight line, not arching or bending your back or hips. Lining up with the edge of an exercise mat can help and you can bend you bottom knee if you need more stability. Flex your top foot, engage your core and lift your leg up without using momentum, squeezing your butt cheek at the top of the movement then slowly lowering back down.
Side Lying Clams
Get into the same position you were just in, body nice and aligned with knees bent at a slight angle. Keeping your feet together, open your top leg, tensing your bum at the top before returning to the start. Make sure you aren’t twisting your hip backwards at the top of the movement.
Side Lying Adduction
Keeping down on the mat in your lovely aligned position, support yourself with your hand, bend your top leg with foot on the floor then flex your bottom foot before raising your straight leg off the ground a few inches. Squeeze your inner thigh muscle before returning to the start.
Flip over onto your back, bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Straighten the other leg out, flex your foot, tense your stomach muscles and gently lift your straightened leg off the floor. Don’t worry if you can only lift a few inches. Slowly return to the start position.
Find a step and stand on it hanging your heels over the edge, making sure your knees aren’t locked but instead have a very slight bend. Slowly lower your heels down to feel a stretch in your calves then raise up on to your tippy toes, pausing at the top, then return to the start.
Stand tall with shoulders back and down and core activated. Making sure your knees have a slight bend in them, hinge at the hips sending your bum backwards. Keep your back straight, we don’t want any hunchbacks here please, and lower down until your hands reach just below your knees. Slowly bring yourself back up to the start, squeezing your bum muscles as you go.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Switch on your abs and push your hips upward, making sure not to over arch your back. Squeeze your bum and leg muscles, holding the movement at the top for a few seconds before lowering back down slowly.
- 10-20 reps per exercise, swapping legs when necessary
- 3-4 sets per workout
- Repeat 3-5 times a week.
Once you’ve built up a nice foundation of strength in your legs, you can progress to squats, lunges, weighted deadlifts, split squats, step ups and much, much more!!
Noobs, let me know how you get on.
Treble Maker 909 xx