A Leg Strengthening Exercise
That Also Works Your
Abs, Lower Back & Butt

Here's a superb leg strengthening exercise for stronger thighs, knees, ankles and lower back. This exercise is also highly effective for toning your thigh and butt muscles, and it works your abs and belly too. Deep breathing during the exercise also builds lung power and stamina.

A version of the common bodyweight squat, this one requires you to hold a ball for balance and stability as you repeatedly lower and raise your body. A basketball is suitable, however practically any ball of similar size will do. For extra resistance, you can hold a barbell weight, or a medicine ball, or any object that's easy to hold against your stomach and doesn't hinder the squatting action. If you have knee or lower back problems though, check with your health professional before attempting it.

Squats - Leg Strengthening Exercise

How

All breathing throughout the exercise is through your nose. Inhale as you push up, exhale as you go down.

1. Stand with your feet parallel, about waist-width apart.

Hold the ball or other suitable object against your belly.

Keep your back straight.



2. Inhale smoothly and deeply.

As you exhale, gently and smoothly lower yourself to the ground, so that your weight is resting on the front of your feet only.

Inhale and push up to the standing position. Push with your abs as well as your legs to rise up. Your heels may touch the ground as you become upright again. That's one round. Immediately begin another round.

Do a dozen or so to begin.

Build up to 25-30, or 50, or more, 2-3 times a week.



Benefits

  • Strengthens your legs, knees & ankles
  • Strengthens your lower back & abs
  • Firms & tones your thighs & butt
  • Increases your lung power & stamina

Tips

  • Do a few very slow, controlled practice squats first
  • Don't bounce at the bottom of each squat
  • Keep the entire exercise smooth & continuous
  • Keep your feet pointing straight ahead
  • Use your abs to help push your body up
  • Focus on what you're doing, not on external distractions
  • Remember to breathe smoothly & deeply throughout the exercise

Extra Exercise for Knee & Leg Strengthening

Wall Squats

1. Stand with your back to a wall, your feet about 60cm (2 feet) away from it. Lean back till your back touches the wall.

2. Slowly slide down the wall till your thighs are parallel with the floor. Push your lower back into the wall. Hold the position for as long as you can. Breathe smoothly and deeply. Increase your holding time each day. Wall Squats are also good for toning your thigh and butt muscles and strengthening your lower back.

You can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the above leg strengthening exercises by doing these additional exercises for stretching and strengthening your thighs, knees and ankles:

Thigh Burner
Forward Lunge
Hamstring Stretches
Knee Circles
Ankle Stretch & Roll



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