Be like a kangaroo and get a leg up on your leg strength. Kangaroos are animals with amazing locomotion, taking advantage of the impact of the ground as they take off—just like NBA player LeBron James. Kangaroos also have tons of elastin fibers. Elastin are the fibers found in your muscles, which keep the springiness in your step. Adding more hops to your leg workout fortifies your elastin. Elastin helps in increasing the tightness in your skin and adding to your leg strength. Plus, you’ll be increasing the number of muscle fibers, which help you move quickly throughout your day.
Leg strength affects your ability to remain functional in every aspect of life. You walk almost everywhere to go to and from places. Your legs keep you functional in keeping your balance, playing sports or performing general daily activities such as gardening, walking up a flight of steps or keeping up with your kids.
Try this leg circuit to keep up your elastin fibers and leg strength. (Make sure you don’t have neck, lower-back or knee issues).
Raised Glute Bridge
- Lie flat on your back on the ground with both feet on the long end of the step.
- Place your hands at your sides with your palms facing up toward the ceiling.
- Place your glutes as close to the step as possible. Make sure the knee angle is comfortable for your knees.
- Push through both feet to raise your hips toward the ceiling.
- Lower your hips all the way down to your starting position.
- Repeat 12 times to complete one set.
- Start on your knees (on a mat, if needed).
- Step forward with one foot and push the ground away with that foot to help you rise from the ground. Bring your back foot forward to assume a symmetrical standing position.
- Reverse the sequence and lower yourself back to the ground with the same leg. Alternate legs for 30 seconds.
- Think about rising from your head first and avoid falling forward.
- Move slowly at first and gradually increase your pace without changing your rhythm and timing.
- Work for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Complete three sets.
Complete two to four circuits.
Alternating Transverse to Reverse Lunge
- Stand on top of the short end of the step in an athletic-ready stance.
- Keep your left foot on the step. Bring your right foot back into a lunge.
- Return to the starting position. Keep your left foot on the step.
- Bring your right foot out laterally into a transverse lunge.
- Perform alternating between reverse lunge and transverse lunge for eight to 10 reps total (four to five of each lunge). Switch to the other side.
Bulgarian Split-Squat Mini-Hop
- Stand on the ground with your feet beneath your hips so that the step is behind you.
- Step your left foot behind you on top of the step; your right foot remains on the ground. You will be in a split-squat position.
- Squat into a single-leg split squat with your weight on your right foot. Hold two seconds.
- Perform a little hop. Return to the split-squat starting position to reset.
- Repeat for eight reps on your right foot. Switch to your left foot.
Lateral Power Step-Up
- Stand on the ground close to the step.
- Step up laterally with your left foot and push off your foot to jump toward the ceiling. Keep your right knee bent as you step up and push off with your left foot.
- Land softly with your left knee bent and your right leg on the ground.
- Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds, then switch legs.
180 Jump to Hurdle Jump
- Stand about 10 to 12 feet away from the long end of the step.
- Run quickly to the bench.
- Pause briefly and jump over the step with both feet. Land softly.
- Continue running in the same direction about 10 to 12 feet away from the step.
- Jump to turn around, land in a squat, stand and face the step.
- Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds.
Raised Pigeon Stretch
- Place your right leg on top of the step so that your shin is parallel to the long side of the step and you have a 90-degree angle at your knee.
- Your left leg will be behind you.
- Lean forward to feel the stretch in your hips and glutes.
- Hold 30 seconds. Repeat with your left leg.
- Kneel on the ground with the step on your left side.
- Place your left foot flat on top of the step.
- Your left leg is straight and your right knee should be on the ground.
- Hinge forward to a comfortable range where you feel the stretch on your inner thigh.
- Hold 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Photo credit: skynesher, Getty Images
GIFs: Tom Casey, box24studios.com
Model: Brooke Walsh, 24 Hour Fitness