Slide on that mini skirt and show off those toned and tamed legs. When your traditional workout is starting to go a little lax, you may want to beef up your regular moves with powerful exercises to trick your muscles into submission. Your leg lifting and running routine won't be your only addiction once you've incorporated a few tips from expert trainers.
Stretching should be in every runners’ regime. “Yoga classes are great for strengthening and stretching all the right muscle groups,” says fitness expert and trainer Kristen James of Kristen James Fitness. James advises that runners pay special attention to their IT band (located along side of your thigh muscle). A good stretch that can be done every day, anywhere (at your desk, after a run, in the shower, before bed) is the Standing Pigeon pose. To execute this pose stand with your feet hip=width apart, and as you externally rotate one hip out to the side, place your ankle on the opposite knee. Sit down and back as if you are sitting in a chair. Deepen the stretch by lowering your hips. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Conditioning your calves should be a top priority for runners. You can strengthen them by performing step ups. Place one foot on a step, a bench or a street curb as you lift the opposite knee up to hip height, "stepping up" on the platform of choice. Step down and alternate with the opposite foot/leg. Perform 10 step ups on each leg for three sets.
According to personal fitness trainer Edu Cuero, a great workout for leg lifting and running is a seated wall squat in a room with smooth flooring. “Place a towel underneath one foot and allow that foot to slide forward and backwards while the other foot stays planted for 30 second intervals,” advises Cuero. “This exercise is great for knee stability, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calfs. You’ll certainly find this move challenging!”
Balance and Control
Even the most sophisticated runner knows that maneuvering around potholes and avoiding bumps in the grass or rocks on the beach takes balance and control. James recommends adding Uni Lateral Deadlifts into your repertoire for the best way to get both. Hold a medicine ball, or any heavy object — a log from outside, or your laundry detergent from inside your home — and stand on one leg as you elevate the other behind you, perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower the object toward the floor, stopping when your chest become parallel to the ground. Perform 12 repetitions on each leg for three sets.
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