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Friday Fitness: Lower Body Exercises

The importance of strength training cannot be emphasized enough.  Today’s workout definitely focuses on the lower-body but can be incorporated into a full-body routine.  Strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and other muscles in your legs may not only improve your aerobic endurance and/or speed, but it will protect you from unwanted injuries (think ACL, MCL, etc.).

  1.  Overhead Walking Lunges:   Choose a weighted plate (5-25 lbs).  Push-press the plate directly over your head.  Being able to walk with alternating forward lunges, push your weight through your heels as you drive yourself back up.  Make sure your knees are not going past your toes.  Complete 16 steps total.  Modification:  Overhead Stationary Reverse Lunges (step backwards). 
  2. Single Leg RDLs w/ Plate:  Using the same plate as before, bring the weight directly in front of you while kicking-back one knee to a 90 degree angle.  Keeping your shoulders back, slowly bring the weight toward the ground while thinking of “kicking a door” behind you with the bent leg.  Use your hamstrings and glutes to stand upright.  Complete 8 repetitions on each leg. Modification:  Complete a regular deadlift by maintaining a “table top” back when bringing the plate toward the ground (both feet on the ground).
  3. Lateral Lunges w/ Plate:  Hold the plate in front of you as you take a large step/lunge to one side while keeping one leg extended.  Keep the shoulders back.  Complete 8 repetitions on each side.  Modification:  Use only body weight. 
  4. Mountain Climbers w/ Paper Sliders:  Get yourself in a plank position with a foot on each piece of paper.  Bring your knees to your chest while keeping your hands underneath your shoulders.  Complete 30 seconds of mountain climbers. 

Try going through these exercises at least 2 times throughout your training session.  Keep in mind to practice efficiency, effectiveness and safety—without those three concepts your strength training may actually be a hindrance to your goals.  HAPPY FRIDAY!!

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