At the time of writing this blog, gyms are still closed, and many people are frustrated with a disruption in their fitness routine.  Many people are working out at home and do not have access to the equipment they require. The following is a body-weight leg workout that you can do at home without any equipment. For some people, body-weight exercises are too easy.  However, a very slow mindful muscular contraction can fatigue any muscle, like how a wall-sit can be difficult for everyone. The obvious disclaimer goes here; this is intended to give the reader some inspiration for exercises to try.  It may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have an injury.  If you are unsure, start with smaller more careful movements and ask your health practitioner if these are appropriate for you. To be safe, move in a way that you are comfortable with and prepared for.  Consult with a professional for those movements you aren’t familiar with them.

Wall Sit

A classic leg exercise that we did in elementary school gym class.  It also serves as a decent warm-up. Put your back against the wall and hold at an angle that challenges you.  Ideally, you would move closer to ninety degrees and don’t put your hands on your knees.

wall sit

Bulgarian /Split Squat

This is like a lunge with your back foot on an elevated surface. You can use a chair or your stairs.

bulgarian split squat 1 bulgarian split squat 2

Step Up

This is as simple as it sounds…step up and lower down on the same leg.  You can bring your opposite leg to your chest if you are ambitious.

step up 1 step up 2

Lunges

This is like the first exercise only both feet are on the ground and we’re pushing back up to the start position.

lunge 1 lunge

Squats

This really does not need an explanation.  Get low, get high and do not worry about the details too much.

squat

You may have noticed that the explanations for these exercises were very brief.  “But wait… I was told to only go to ninety degrees!  I was told to not let my knee go past my toes!  My spine isn’t straight… does that matter”?

Many of these ideas are common myths that have been passed around clinics, gyms and on the internet for years. Interestingly, most of them have no real scientific basis.  It is more important that a person is prepared for a particular movement, not whether or not they are doing it in a way that is considered correct according to a textbook.  From my clinical and personal experience, I believe in a reasonable compromise. I recommend that people try and stay somewhere close to these traditional movement patterns (especially when they are inexperienced with a movement), but I also don’t worry too much if they don’t have ‘perfect form’. As an example, I know that I won’t get hurt doing the exercises listed above for various reasons.  I have done them many times, I am not using weights, I have adequate joint movement and neural control for these movements and I’m doing them at a speed and repetition range that I’ve done many times before. In simple terms, I am prepared for the movements that I’m doing even if I’m not doing the exercises the way the health and fitness world has advised. My knee might pass my toe when I lunge.  My spine might not stay in neutral when I do these exercises. The important point is that I am keeping my movements within a capacity that is appropriate for me, and if I choose to add weight, I do it in a manner that is safe for my movement ability and my lifting experience.

Again, these exercises may not be appropriate for everyone.  If you are unsure, please reach out to your treating practitioner or call us at 905-220-7858 and Burlington Sports Therapy can assist you with the right course of exercise.

By Dr. Kevin McIntyre B.Kin., DC