Low-Impact Leg Lift Workout & Exercises That Protect Knees
Undeniably the leg muscles are the most critical muscles in our body for continued mobility. Besides being the largest muscles and a large contributor to our overall lean muscle mass (or lack thereof), the leg muscles also protect the knee joint.
The leg contains both the longest and the largest muscles in our body.
Outside of the spine, one of the most common ailments among our aging population is the knees.
Changing our metabolism as we change both our diet and our activity level must be addressed. The quickest way to take our metabolism to a new level is to build muscle. Science has proven that the higher the percentage of muscle mass in our body, the higher the metabolism - we burn calories faster.
Where are the largest and longest muscles in the body? In the legs. Yet, if we are fighting our weight, how do we do build these muscles outside of the swimming pool? Here are some great low impact exercises designed specifically to be low impact. Still challenging but all low impact.
Side Lying Leg Lifts
Muscles of the Leg
Warm-up Before Any Exercises
#2 - Inner Thigh Workout Variation
#3 Inner Thigh Workout Variation
#4 Inner Thighs and Abdominals Too!
"Repetition equals results."
Build Muscle to Protect the Knees
Building muscle to protect the knee without further injury to the knee can be problematic especially IF your knees demand a low impact exercise. This article showcases 4 great variations on the often forgotten leg lift exercise.
Muscle = Armour
An important principal which I believe should be taught alongside the ABC's is the fact that our muscles are the amour that protects our joints.
The old saying "IF you don't use it, you lose it" is truly profound when you are taking about this complicated human machine we call our body.
The old adage of RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation is true for the first 24 hours - then after that IF you don't move it - you will actually damage your body.
It is muscle that protects our joints.
IF you are still in pain after 24 hours or IF you cannot sleep, consult a professional. Find out the correct exercises that will HELP your pain. Any further delay will harm your body. The cost is too high.
Always Always Warm-up Before Exercising - Here's Why!
We have 640 muscles in our human body. These muscles are perhaps most similar to a rubber band. A warm rubber band is very flexible. Our muscles love a warm-up because it is after a warm-up - and only after a warm-up that are muscles are flexible.
Target toning must begin only after a warm-up.
If we try to exercise without a proper warm-up, we may end up like the cold rubber band and snap the band or hurt the muscle.
The Good News - No Expensive Confusing Equipment Needed - To Protect the Knees
Home exercise can be both effective and inexpensive with the Body Bar. The Body Bar I know looks strange at first - but it works! This exercise is wonderful for the inner thigh muscles.
Journey with us as we walk through this great exercise complete with photos detailing each movement.
The Bad News - You Must Be Consistent
It will at first seem difficult. Remember everything new is difficult at first. Start slowly and do the exercises on a regular basis. It takes 21 days to change your pattern. Therefore, I always recommend starting small with a simple 2 minutes a day for you - 2Min4U. Once it becomes a habit, it really is easy! The first 21 days are critical so don't overdo it - just add your exercises into your morning routine.
Brush Our Teeth Brush Our Hair
Every single morning we brush our teeth, brush our hair, but the 640 muscles in our body are often forgotten! Change that deathly lifestyle now! Even if it is only for 2 minutes, warm-up for 1 minutes and try 1 minute of exercise. And here we will provide 4 great exercises for more beautiful legs.
Leg Lifts - One of Three Main Types of Leg Exercises
The human body is one of the most complex machines in the world. It is the only machine that can heal itself. One exercise alone will not get the job done. Beyond lunges and squats is leg lifts and within the leg lifts we have shared with you 4 great variations.
Leg Lifts Verses Lunges
The leg lifts target the inner thigh and the quadriceps. The leg lift exercise movement is different from lunges and squats. Lunges and squats are outstanding resistance exercises. However, for those of us with knee problems, these two exercises may not be a practical option.
The leg lift exercises are a great addition to any workout - and is especially loved by those with knee problems - such as myself!
Knee Problems - Seniors & Rehab Too!
For my clients who find lunges hard on the knees, the leg lifts are simple and very effective. These exercise are especially wonderful for seniors because the exercises are low impact and yet target tone the two most important skeletal muscles in the human body.
The Largest & the Longest Muscles in the Human Body
All of the exercises shown in this article work the two largest and longest muscles in the human body! No wonder these leg lifts are magical in changing your metabolism, toning and reshaping your body! Remember changing fat into muscle will 1.) protect the joints and 2.) change your metabolism thus allowing you to eat more and yet be thinner too! What are these two muscles - the longest and the largest? Read on...
The Largest Muscle in the Human Body - Quadriceps
The largest muscles in the human body are in our legs. As the diagrams to the right detail, these muscles are extensive. The king of all muscles is called the "quadricep" - and includes four muscles on the front of the thigh. This massive muscle also is connected to the largest bone in the human body - the "femur".
The Longest Muscle in the Human Body - Sartorius
The side lying leg lifts engage not only the quadriceps but also the long muscle called the sartorius.
The sartorius is the longest muscle in the human body. The sartorius as the diagram showcases runs obliquely across the thigh and descends all the way down to the knee. The name "sartorius" is derived from Latin - the word "sartorial" which means to do with tailoring. Some people have nicknamed this muscle the "tailor's muscle".
Wikipedia gives an interesting background to the etymology of the word: "There are four hypotheses as to the genesis of the name: One is that this name was chosen in reference to the cross-legged position in which tailors once sat. Another is that it refers to the location of the inferior portion of the muscle being the "inseam" or area of the inner thigh tailors commonly measure when fitting a pant. A third is that the muscle closely resembles a tailor's ribbon. Additionally, antique sewing machines required continuous cross body peddling. This combination of lateral rotation and flexion of the hip and flexion of the knee gave tailors particularly enlarged sartorius muscles."
Leg Lift Exercises Four Options Given
Four different exercises targeting the quadriceps, the sartorius and the abdominal are given as examples in this article. All leg lift exercises showcased here use either none or very minimal equipment. Yet all of these exercises deliver great results.
Leg Lifts With Equipment or Without Equipment
As you can see, the exercises we have provided here are both with added resistance equipment of the Body Bar or with simply your own body weight as shown in the videos.
Body Bar - Two Levels - Easy and Challenging - Checkout the Progression
The beauty of the leg lift with the Body Bar is this exercise offers a progression of exercises. Once you master the first movement, take it to the next level. We explain in more detail below complete with two sets of photographs.
Additionally, the Body Bar comes in different weights. I started out with the 9 lb and have worked up to the 12 lb Body Bar. Many different weights are available - I just share this with for a helpful hint.
The investment in the resistance tool is certainly worth it IF you have bad knees. Body Bar is not the only manufacturer, just an example given. Body Bar kindly supplied the needed photographs upon my request in order to fully provide the needed details of the two different types of movement. No financial consideration exists between Body Bar and the author as stated below in the FTC Disclosure and reiterated here for the sake of clarity.
Easy Leg Lifts - Side Lying Leg Lifts Variation #1A
Start with lying on your side - thus the side lying leg lift term.
Rest the Body Bar on your inner foot as shown, with the end of the bar extending no more than 1-2".
Then slowly lift your leg off the ground 6-8" as we have shown below.
You will feel both your quadricep and your sartorius contract.
Listen to your body and feel the power of the muscles in your legs.
CAUTION: If you feel your back muscles engaged - stop immediately, you need to re-position your hips.
Repeat the leg lift for 10-12 repetitions. Switch legs. Always perform the same number of repetitions on each leg unless you are fighting an injury or are in rehabilitation.
Side Lying - Reclining Leg Raise with Body Bar
Easy Leg Lifts - #1A
Take It Up A Level - Variation #1B
In the photos below, you will notice the Body Bar has been extended beyond the foot about 8-10". This slight change in the center of gravity dramatically changes the amount of the weight and the tension placed upon the muscles.
Follow the same steps as detailed in the Side Lying Leg Lift Variation #1A.
Leg Lifts - More Challenging - #1B
Recap - 4 Great Leg Exercises to Protect the Knees
As we discussed, there are three main types of exercises for building the muscle around the knee joint: squats, lunges and leg lifts. The leg lifts are the best for low impact. The leg lifts are also often the forgotten exercise or in some cases "the secret of the personal trainer".
This article details four different leg lift exercises for target toning the largest and the longest muscles in our body. Squats and lunges are great exercises, however, if you struggle with your knees hurting, try the low impact leg lift exercises just for 2 weeks. I promise a noticeable improvement.
To recap our three main points in this article:
- Muscle protects our joints - especially important piece of knowledge when we have sore knees.
- Muscle can change our metabolism. Again important piece of information when fighting the hourly challenge of the battle of the bulge.
- The longest and largest muscles in our legs need resistance exercise, the leg lifts provide a great workout with low impact upon the knees.
Make low impact exercises part of your daily fitness routine today!
© 2010 Kelly A Burnett
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