Monday, September 10, 2012

My Leg Strengthening Routine

Since my last post, I have gotten a few requests for "what is your leg strength routine?" So instead of emailing out to individuals, I might as well just write up the entire workout.

This is basically what the PT had me doing to rehab my knee a year ago. Since then I have added some stuff. I won't lie, this is a decent 1 hour to 1:15 lower body workout once you get efficient at what you are doing. I think it is easiest to do this in a fully stocked gym. You will need the following equipment: Ankle Weights, Bosu Ball, Physio Ball, dumb bells, a chair or bench or step ups, leg extension machine and leg press machine. Also, a clock or timer.

Warmup - do 10 mins of your choice of walking, running, bike, eliptical. Just easy and just enough to get the blood flowing in your legs

Stretch - quick calf, hamstring, quad, and glute stretches. 30 seconds each muscle group, each side. 1 time each.

Abductors with weights - Grab your ankle weights and get ready to do some Jane Fonda style leg lifts. This exercise works your abductor muscles, which make up your outer thigh. Do 3 x 10 each leg. Start out with lighter ankle weights at first, and up the weight over time. I consider this part of the warmup.

Adductors with weights - Using the ankle weights again, this exercise works the inside of the thigh. 3 x 10 each leg

Leg raises on physio ball - Can't find a video for this one, but keeping your ankle weights on, lie on your back with both feet propped up onto a physio ball, legs straight. Take one leg and rotate it up and off to the side of the ball and down onto the ground beside the ball, then move the leg in a reverse motion back to resting position on the ball. Your leg does a kind of circular motion. Keep your leg straight and your foot flexed. This is one rep. Do 3 x 10 each leg.

Squats on Bosu Ball - Do 3 x 10. I use a 17lb kettle bell for some extra weight. Make sure your knees don't cross your toes!!!!

Lunges - Do 3 x 10 each leg. Same as squats, keep that knee behind your toe!!! You can add dumb bells if you need more weight.

Step Ups - Using either a chair, or a bench, or high step up board, step up, and step back down using the same foot. This is one rep. Do 3 x 10 each leg. You can add dumb bells if you need more weight.

Pitcher's squats - This is one of the harder exercises in this workout. Just like a squat or lunge, make sure that knee stays behind the toe! Add some dumb bells if you need more weight. This is a more challenging exercise and I feel like it did wonders for my rehab! Do 3 x 10 each leg.

Leg Extensions - Use a machine for this. This machine will work your VMO muscle. My VMO became very weak and is what caused my knee injury. To do this one, raise the bar with both legs, but then drop one leg, and slowly lower the bar with the other leg. Do 3 x 10 each leg. Pick a weight that you can do a full 3 x 10 set, but not so easy that it didn't do anything, but yet just hard enough to challenge you.

Leg Press - Use a machine for this. Don't lock your legs straight on the extension, and remember to breath! Again, pick a weight that is challenging, yet doable for a 3 x 10 set. Both legs are used at all times!!! No single leg!!

Planks - Time to work that core! I do a front plank, then each side, then rest, then repeat. Do 3 sets of these. How much time you do each plank will depend on how long you can hold it. Challenge yourself! And keep that body straight. NO up in the air butt. That is cheating!

Stretch - repeat the same stretching you just did after the 10 min warmup.

Like I mentioned in my last post, this route not only rehabbed me from a knee injury, but it made me way stronger and even faster. I was able to hold a faster pace for longer, AND! recover quicker from hard workouts.

Good luck and leave a comment if you have any Q's.


  1. wow -solid workout

    how long does it take to do the whole routine?

  2. Thanks for laying out my winter training plan! who's gonna do the work for me? ;D

  3. A little surprised there were no wall sits in this as I've read that is a great way to build the muscles that stabilize the knees. But for my weak muscles, if I just did one or two reps of half of these moves, I'd be making progress. Don't have a gym membership, but looks like a good percentage of them could be done at home.

  4. So that's your secret to being a speed demon! Maybe I'll have to try it! :)

  5. I do those pitcher squats a few times a week, only I know them as Dumbbell Bulgarian Squats. It's the best leg exercise in my opinion, but makes me sore for days! The other thing I love is the crossover lunge, so great for runners and injury prevention.

  6. Those abductor raises not only hurt, but I feel so lame doing them in the gym. I want to wear a shirt that says "I'M DOING THIS BECAUSE I GOT INJURED TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN, OK?"

  7. I will bookmark this in my folder "Things I Should Be Doing"

  8. No power cleans or deadlifts? Solid strength routine, lets give you another free post idea, whats your upper body routine?

  9. Thanks for posting this, this is a legit workout! If you do 3 sets of all of these, this workout must take you at least 1.5 hours - that is a lot of stuff. I've done some of these as part of my knee rehab in the past, I probably should be doing more of them consistently now.


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