OK In Health - Peak Physique

Strong Core and Quads! - March 2020

Lets look at strengthening the Quadriceps (the largest muscle in the body)

By Sonya Patrick

Now that autumn and all it holds is upon us, we may find that we do not have as much time to go the gym or get outside and exercise as often as we should.  By strengthening the Quadriceps (the largest muscle in the body) we can build lean muscle mass thus helping to increase metabolism and of course they will look good enough for short shorts!! 

In order to keep on top of those trouble areas, let’s look at a few quick simple exercises to strengthen and tighten those Tums and Thighs!

Warm up by simply jogging on the spot, reaching the arms above the head and/or running up and down the staircase a few times.  Chase the children or dog around the house and make sure all your limbs are ready for exercise. (Heart rate and breathing should have increased, muscles warmed up).

Pulsing Lunges on the Stairs:
One foot firmly placed on Stair, move into and hold the lunge position, (back foot on the floor, 90 degree angle of the leg on stair, knee over ankle not toes)!  Lower back knee towards floor; make small pulsing movements, 3 sets of 12 on each leg.  If you are feeling really adventurous, hold a 5lb – 10lb dumbbell in each hand while doing this exercise!
Works: Quads and Hamstrings.

Diagonal Lunge
Feet slightly wider than hip width, take a large step forward on a diagonal with the toes of one foot pointed out. Keep front knee in line with ankle and other leg straight, do not lock out knees. Push off front foot to bring feet back together. Do 12 reps on one side, then switch and repeat. Do 3 sets total with each leg. Works: quadriceps, inner thighs, buttocks and some hamstrings.

Wall Sit
Feet hip width apart, spine aligned against wall.  Slowly slide down wall until knees are at a 90 degree angle, knees over ankles, not toes.  Keep back pressed against wall, head looking forward.  Hold for 1 minute, relax and remember to keep breathing!  Repeat x 3.  Ouch!  This exercise can also be done with a Swiss ball placed between your lower back and the wall.

Forearm Plank with Knee Drop
: Lie face down on floor, move into plank position. (Toes curled under/forearms on floor, lift body off floor, keep back flat and in a nice straight line, head in line with spine). Keeping hips square and abs pulled in. Drop one knee to the floor, straighten leg. Drop the other knee to the floor; straighten leg. Alternate knee drops for 20 reps (each rep is one leg). Remember to breathe, relax shoulders and maintain position, do not let spine drop.  This will strengthen the core area of abdominals and lower back.

Bilateral Back Extension– Erector Spinae: 
Lie face down with arms and legs extended, prone, keep head in line with the spine. Raise opposite arm and leg about 4-6 inches off the floor, hold 2 seconds and release. Breathe.
To increase degree of difficulty, lift both arms and legs simultaneously, hold then release. Hip remains in contact with floor, movement is slow and controlled. 

Cool Down/Stretch: 
Always stretch out the muscle group you have been working, in this instance the Quads.  Standing, keep the left knee soft, grasp the right foot (shoelace area) bending the right leg behind, press pelvis forward, keeping legs together.  Breathe, hold stretch for 8-12 seconds, then release and repeat on other leg.

Middle Back and Abdominal Stretch
:  Perform this stretch on a non-slip surface.  Sit on a Swiss ball, then walk your legs out and roll backwards until you are lying over the ball.  Extend your arms over your head.  To increase the stretch, slowly straighten the legs.  Hold for up to one minute.
(If you normally experience dizziness when looking upward toward the sky, you may experience dizziness when performing this stretch, if so, stop the stretch immediately).

Each of these exercises can be completed at home, no fancy gym equipment required.  Just remember to check with your doctor in order to prevent any injury.

Try to take a few minutes before or after work to unwind, exercise and rejuvenate!  Enjoy an evening walk with the family or skip alone in the garage!  Working the heart and getting the blood flowing everyday not only keeps our body healthy but improves our mood, boosts immunity and for me, maintains my sanity!

Take Care and Stay Healthy!
Sonya

Sonya Patrick
Health & Fitness Coach
 Cell: 250 809 5609




Sonya PatrickSonya's Bio: Sonya Patrick, (SPRA, RSA, PTS, Can Fit Pro, ACE, KOI - CPR Certified). Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Nutritional Advisor. Sonya has been teaching Fitness Classes, Boot camps, and Personal Training for over 12 years in both Canada and Europe. Currently working as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional in Penticton, Sonya can be contacted at (250) 809 5609 / (778) 476 3375 - Email


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