Poster

Workout: Strong summer legs

Summer is finally here with more sun hours, blue skies and warm winds. This is the perfect time to move some, or perhaps all, of your workouts outdoors and get the added benefit of Vitamin D and fresh air. But how can you secure a fun and efficient workout if you don’t have access to the equipment you are used to? Can body weight exercises be heavy enough to build muscle? In this guide, you will get a full lower body strength workout without any equipment that you can do at the summer cottage, in your garden, or in the nearest park. On a rainy day, you can of course do it indoors. Let’s get started!

First, we will walk through the setup. Begin with a general warm-up such as jogging to the location where you will perform your workout and then complete the specific warm-up with dynamic mobility exercises here below. You can do several rounds of the warm-up if you wish. Then choose one of the following setups:

1 round: Approximately 30 minutes including warm up.

Exercise 1: 45 seconds / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 2: 45 seconds – right leg / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 1: 45 seconds / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 2: 45 seconds – left leg / Rest: 30 seconds Continue in the same way with exercises 3 + 4, 5 + 6, 7 + 8 and finally 9 + 10.

2 rounds: Approximately 45 minutes including warm up.

Complete round 1 above and then rest for 1 minute. Continue with the following:

Exercise 1: 30 seconds / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 2: 30 seconds – right leg / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 1: 30 seconds / Rest: 15 seconds Exercise 2: 30 seconds – left leg / Rest: 30 seconds Continue in the same way with exercises 3 + 4, 5 + 6, 7 + 8 and finally 9 + 10.

This workout primarily targets the quads, glutes and hamstrings and consists of low impact strength exercises. It includes exercises that help improve mobility, balance and stability. We will alternate bilateral and unilateral exercises throughout the workout. The great benefit of unilateral exercises is that you prevent overusing or compensating with the dominant side and can thereby correct muscle imbalances.

Dynamic mobility warm up

Exercises:

1. Pause sumo squat

Place your feet wide apart with your toes turned out. Squat as low as your mobility allows you and hold for 3 seconds at the bottom. Remember to push your knees out to keep them aligned with your toes. Contract the glutes as you push back up to the starting position.

2. Back lunge to one-legged deadlift (R/L)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with one foot and bend the front leg as you perform the lunge. Place the majority of the weight on the front foot. Maintain a proud posture and lean slightly forward to get contact with your glutes. Push through the front foot and lift the other knee to your chest. Lean forward and hinge at the hip as you perform the one-legged deadlift. Aim to keep the knee at the same angle in this part of the movement.

3. Alternating curtsy lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Cross one leg behind the other and lunge until your knee comes down just behind the other heel. The lateral movement should be quite short in order to avoid rotating the upper body. Your hips should point in the same direction throughout the exercise.

4. One-legged hip thrust (R/L)

Lie down on your back with your feet hip-width apart and lift one leg towards the sky. Push the hips up as you perform the hip thrust. If you struggle to find contact with your glutes and hamstrings, try lifting your toes off the ground so that the weight is placed on your heel. Hold for a few seconds at the top and lower down with control. Keep your neck relaxed and your head on the ground.

5. Cossack squat

Place your feet very wide apart. Bend one leg and extend the other as you squat to one side. Push back up to the starting position. Remember to turn your toes out and align your knee with your toes as you perform the exercise. Aim for the biggest possible range of motion that you can control.

6. Skater squat (R/L)

Stand on one leg and bend the lifted leg. Squat and lower the knee as close to the ground as you can before pushing back up to the starting position. If you master this exercise, try grabbing hold of the lifted foot with one hand.

7. Reverse Nordic hamstring curl

Start in a kneeling position. Contract the glutes, brace the core and lean as far back as you can with control. Keep a straight line from your knees to your head throughout the movement. Return to the starting position.

8. Modified dragon pistol squat (R/L)

Stand on one leg and cross the other leg behind as you squat and lean slightly in the opposite direction. Aim to extend the lifted leg as you cross it behind the standing leg. Extend the standing leg as you come back to the starting position.

9. Walking glute bridge

Lie down on your back with your feet hip-width apart. Do a hip thrust and start walking your feet as far away as possible with your hips still lifted. Take at least four steps on the way out and on the way in.

10. Side lunge to knee lift (R/L)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step to the side and perform a side lunge. Push back and lift the knee towards your chest.

Progression tips: When you see progress in the exercises above, you can challenge yourself by adding weights to the exercises. If you don’t have access to dumbbells, you could for instance use a heavy backpack instead. Another way to challenge yourself is to increase the working time in the intervals.

Good luck!


Article and exercises produced and executed by: Susanna Göransson: @susannagoransson

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