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The Workout: A Lower Body Go-To

Looking for a workout that you can turn to whenever you need a concentrated dose of lower-body fitness? This five-exercise combination builds leg strength and endurance, with a variety of familiar yet challenging moves.

Two rounds: 30 seconds on and 30 seconds of rest for each exercise.

Plié squats: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width, toes turned out slightly. Keeping your hips under your shoulders and your back straight, bend your knees and lower your body till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Slowly return to the starting position.

Pistol squats on bench: Stand with your feet hip width apart about 8 inches in front of a bench seat, facing away from it. Raise your arms straight out in front of you. Lift your right foot off the ground, keeping your right leg straight. Bending your left leg, lower yourself down slowly, aiming to stop just before you hit the bench seat. Rise back up to a stand. If you find yourself struggling, don’t lower down as deeply (you will still feel it).

Walking lunges: Step forward into a lunge, with the thigh of your front leg nearly parallel to the ground and your back knee almost touching the ground. Stand back up and step immediately into a second lunge on the opposite leg. Repeat.

Curtsy squats: Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointed forward. Take a step back with your right leg and cross it behind your left leg, as if you are doing a curtsy. Squat straight down so your right knee nearly touches the ground. Return to a stand, keeping your right leg crossed behind your left. Repeat.

Side-shuffle touches: Stand with your feet wider than hip width apart. Squat down low and hold your arms, elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, in front of you. Shuffle to the right three steps and touch the ground with your right hand. Shuffle to the left three steps and touch the ground with your left hand. Repeat.

As always, check with your health care professional before starting a new workout.

Photo: Charlotte Jenks Lewis



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