Jackie Wright – No Equipment Required, Part II
September 17, 2009
Second in a three-part series
Last week we featured exercises for the upper body that require little or no equipment. This week, we will highlight exercises for the lower body, again, requiring little or no equipment. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
Squats – Targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal and core muscles
• Begin standing with the feet more than shoulder-width apart, the shoulders, hips, knees and toes facing forward.
• The majority of the body weight resting in the heels avoiding shifting any body weight into the front third of the feet during the exercise.
• Rotate your shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted and pull your navel toward the spine engaging the core muscles.
• Hinging from the hip joint, planting your tail bone toward the wall behind you, lower the body downward as though you were going to sit into a chair.
• Avoid dropping your torso toward the floor and keep looking straight ahead.
• Go no lower than 90 degrees of flexion at the knee joint (i.e. no lower than hamstrings parallel to the floor).
• Engage the glutes and drive your body upward to the beginning position, keeping your pelvis in neutral and the knees relaxed.
• Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, two slow counts down and up, two to three times per week.
• Once you have mastered this exercise, you may increase the intensity by holding dumbbells by your sides. You may also place the dumbbells on your shoulders or, if you prefer, a barbell you can safely manage.
• Choose a weight increment which will create momentary muscle failure by the final two reps of each set.
Lunges – Targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal and core muscles
• Begin standing, staggering your legs apart, front to back, so that when you lower your body into a lunge position, your front knee will track over the front heel, never the toes.
• The back heel should remain elevated throughout the exercise with the legs approximately shoulder-width apart (think of two separate railroad tracks).
• Shoulders, hips, knees and toes all facing the same direction with the shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.
• Lower the body toward the floor just to the point where the knees are flexed approximately 90 degrees.
• Then, engaging the glutes, drive your body back to the beginning position through the front heel, keeping the knees relaxed.
• There is no forward motion with a stationary lunge. Think down and up only. Imagine a Ming Vase sitting on your head and don’t drop it.
• Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, slow two counts down/up, two to three times per week.
• Once you have mastered this exercise (and it is not for everyone, particularly those with certain knee limitations), you may increase the intensity by holding dumbbells by your sides or a barbell on your shoulders that you can safely manage.
• Choose a weight increment that will create momentary muscle failure by the final two repetitions.
Next week, we will feature body weight exercises for the abdominal and core muscles.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her e-mail address at NSFGL@comcast.net or her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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