You know how to do leg lifts, and you know how to breathe. But do you know how to breathe correctly while doing leg lifts? For any type of leg lift, including a seated one, the best practice is to exhale while raising the leg, then inhale while releasing it.
All forward leg lifts work the muscles of the thighs, especially the quadriceps. Standing thigh lifts are great for working the core, too, but in some cases seated leg lifts are more convenient and provide many of the same benefits. For example, the seated variation is good for people who aren't able to put much weight on their legs or who have trouble balancing. You might also be able to get in a few seated leg lifts at work, where a quick chair exercise can be a welcome break.
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with your spine straight and away from the back of the chair. Plant one foot on the floor in a normal bent-knee position. Straighten the other leg. Rest your hands behind you on the chair for balance, look up, and engage your abdominal muscles and the thigh of your straight leg. Inhale to prepare, then exhale while raising the foot of your straight leg about 6 inches off the floor. Inhale and exhale again gently in this position, then release your foot to the floor on the next inhalation.
Repeat about 10 times with the same leg, keeping the thigh muscles engaged between lifts. Change positions and repeat the exercise with the other leg, remembering to breathe as previously instructed.
To strengthen different muscles, rotate the foot of your straight leg somewhat throughout the exercise. To work the abductors, rotate your foot in toward your bent leg. For the adductors, rotate outward. Unless your muscles are feeling overworked, you can combine sets using the different variations for a more well-rounded thigh workout, without ever having to leave your chair.
Laura Gee has a B.A. in history and anthropology, but now spends more time blogging and producing web content. She has worked and/or trained as an illustrator, crafter, caterer, yoga teacher, child-care provider and massage therapist, and she loves to travel when she gets a chance.