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Standing Calf Raises
A plie foot placement method can be used for a number of different exercises, as it helps to work the different muscles of the calves.
The calf muscles have a multitude of movements and as such you should aim to perform calf raises in a both a normal – plie and inverted exercise format.
Point your toes out to the side at about 45 degrees, smoothly raise your heels off the ground, holding in the upper phase for 2 – 3 seconds, prior to returning your heels towards the ground.
Focus on keeping your foot straight throughout the movement, avoid any twisting movements.
This method can be used to work either one foot – both feet – or even a combination of one foot normal (facing forward) one foot Plie.
Stretch and Warm Up before you commence any exercise and aim to finish with some good stretching to let your body and mind recover.
The romanian deadlift is a great variation on the standard deadlift to really work your hamstrings. Perform it in the same way as a standard deadlift, but don’t bend your knees.
As you lean forwards, you will feel a stretch hamstring. As this builds, squeeze your hamstrings to bring your torso back upwards.
As with standard deadlifts, be extra careful to do them slowly and carefully. Do not arch or curve your back, you will instantly regret it.
Plank Reach Through
- Get into a push up position, with your hands on the floor below your shoulders, and your feet spaced slightly apart. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Reach one arm out in front of you, tensing your core for stability.
- Slowly tense your core and reach your arm under you, raising your hips at the same time as you tense your core.
- Touch your opposite knee with your hand.
- Return your arm to its initial position. This is one rep. Repeat on the other side.
On Side Hip Raises
This is a great way to use your bodyweight to really work your obliques.
- From side plank position, making sure your elbow is directly underneath your shoulder, lower your body until your hips touch the ground. You can have your feet scissored (as shown) or on top of each other.
- Tense your obliques (side abs) to raise your body back up to a proper side plank position, with your neck and spine in a neutral position.
Swimmers are a great way to work your whole body whilst giving your lower back a workout.
- Lie on your stomach and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can, raising both legs off the ground.
- Reach forwards with your arms, keeping your palms facing downwards a few inches above the ground.
- Lift your alternate arm and leg up into the air, squeezing all of the muscles from your shoulders down to your glutes. This is one rep.
- Repeat with the other arm rapidly.
The hover lunge is a killer modification of the lunge.
This bodyweight exercise is very challenging, but great for anyone looking to develop their stability or to really push their leg strength and size without weights.
- Stand on one leg, bending your opposite knee and having that foot out behind your body.
- Squeeze your core and your quads. Extend your arms forward as you bend your straight leg. At the same time, extend your opposite leg behind you, keeping your knee bent.
- Lower down until your knee is an inch or two off the ground.
- Slowly straighten the leg you’re standing on, bringing your arms and other leg in at the same time for stability. This is one rep. Take your time, this is a difficult move and stability is difficult!
- Repeat on the other leg.
Glute Bridge to Leg Raise
This variation of the glute bridge helps remove some stability whilst working your legs.
- Perform a standard glute bridge.
- At the top of the glute bridge, tense your hip flexors and abs, bringing one knee up until it’s directly above you.
- Return your leg slowly back down to the ground. This is one rep.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Start on your hands and knees. Have your hands directly below your shoulders.
- Squeeze your glute, kicking one leg backwards towards the sky with your knee bent, squeezing at the top for 2-3 seconds.
- Slowly return the leg until you’re on both knees. This is one rep.
- Repeat for the other leg.
Side Plank Leg Raises
The beginner side plank leg raise is a challenging lower body and core exercise that targets the obliques and outer thighs. This exercise is suitable for any fitness level.
- Start in a modified side plank position with you lower leg bent at the knee supporting most of your body weight.
- Make sure your elbow is tucked underneath your shoulder and your hips are raised. Keep you top leg straight and your toes pulled in slightly.
- Raise you leg up and down with control for the recommended number of repetitions.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The split squat is a great exercise that you’ll feel all day.
- Place the ball of one foot on a stable, elevated platform behind you. Put your weight mainly on your front leg that is in front of the platform. When you perform the squat your knee should be directly over your foot at your lowest point. This determines for far in front of the platform your foot should be.
- Bend the knee of your front leg and lower yourself down into a single leg squat. Keep your core tight. Lower yourself until your knee is directly above your foot and your other knee is an inch or two above the floor. Hold for 2-3 seconds.
- Squeeze your glutes, raising yourself back up to the starting position. This is one rep.
- Repeat for the other leg.