Sunday, February 7, 2016

Away from the gym? Five ways to keep your legs strong

With the holidays right around the corner, many people lose time to get to the gym. So they stop working out all together. But what they fail to realize is that you do not need fancy gym equipment to work out.

Away from the gym? Five ways to keep your legs strong


With winter upon us, many people are taking to working out inside. And with the holidays right around the corner, many people lose time to get to the gym. So they stop working out all together. 

But what they fail to realize is that you do not need fancy gym equipment to work out. In fact, with just a few simple moves, you’ll be able to maintain your strength during the busy holiday season. 

Research has shown that taking just a few weeks off from exercise produces changes to your muscles. It is important to persevere through the busy holiday season. Continue to keep up with your workouts in order to prevent negative changes in the muscle you have worked so hard to achieve. 

The following five exercises can be done while traveling in a hotel room or in the comfort of your own home. If you perform these correctly you should be able to get a good workout. To make it even more challenging add a minute of mountain climbers or jumping jacks in between each of these exercises. The key is to make sure that you maintain proper form. 

  1. Lunges– The biggest mistake people make with performing a lunge is they push through the front of their foot to stand up. This puts unnecessary pressure on the front of the knee and can cause knee pain. Proper form for a lunge is pushing through the heel to stand up.  The front of the foot should almost be off the ground and you should only be pushing back through the toe. 
  2. Squats– Form is also key to performing a good squat. You should go past 90 degrees and you should not put a ball behind your back. Going beyond 90 degrees allows you to work the gluteus medius muscle. Again if you experience knee pain when you do this it means you are putting too much weight in the front of the foot. You need to sit back on your heels and stick your butt out like you are sitting in a chair. The key is to make sure all the weight is in your back heels.
  3. Side lying abduction– A common mistake with this is that as people get tired they roll their hips back and their leg comes forward. This works a different muscle and makes the exercise much easier. This exercise should be challenging for most people. Make sure the leg is extended and is in a straight line with the body before beginning this exercise.
  4. Single leg bridging–Pushing off your heel and putting the weight through the heel is what is needed to be done in order for this exercise to be done with the proper form.  Putting weight through the toe can cause increased pain and injure the front of the knee.
  5. Lateral lunge– This is a combination of a squat and a forward lunge. Again you want to make sure that the weight is in the heel and that you are sticking your butt out like you are going to sit in a chair. 
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These exercises must be performed with perfect form in order for them to be effective. If you feel that you are not getting a workout, chances are you are not performing them correctly. Make sure you perform each repetition slowly and recheck your form after each one. And as always consult your health care practitioner before beginning any exercise program. 

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
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Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

J. Ryan Bair, PT, DPT, SCS Founder and Owner of FLASH Sports Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Brian Cammarota, ATC, PT, DPT, CSCS Physical Therapist at Good Shepard Penn Partners, Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Brittany Everett Owner, Grace & Glory Yoga Fishtown
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Jon Herting, PT, DPT, CSCS, HFS, USAW Physical Therapist, Partner at The Training Room
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. Lacrosse
Brian Maher, BS, CSCS Owner, Philly Personal Training
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
Robyn Weisman, ACE-CPT B.S., Exercise Science & Physiology, Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness and Lifestyle Coach
Sarah M. Whitman, MD Sports Psychiatrist; Clinical Assistant Professor, Drexel University College of Medicine
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