3 Exercises for the Lower Body

Is your go-to exercise for hip strength the clamshell?

What about quad or hamstring exercises? Maybe you use the curling machine at the gym for those?

Each of these exercises promote movement in your lower body, but there are better ways to maximize what your muscles can do.

Give These Exercises a Try

In the video below, Physical Therapist Chris Ponichtera, PT DPT, discusses seated exercises people commonly do to target their lower body and provides alternatives to get you up and moving.

Strengthening the Quads

Have you ever sat on the floor or table, propped a towel or pillow under your knee, and pressed down?

This type of knee extension or quad set is common, however there is a better way to strengthen your quads – the squat.

To perform a squat correctly, stand up tall.

Pretending like your belt loop is being pulled from behind, hinge backwards at your hips. Hold this position for a second, then come back up.

Complete ten to 20 reps. Repeat for two to three sets.

When you squat, make sure you’re pushing back into a comfortable range. Don’t squat so low that you can’t get back up, or that it hurts.


Targeting the Hips

When you think about an exercise to strengthen your hips, does the clamshell come to mind?

It’s a popular option for many.

If you’d like to incorporate more movement while strengthening your hips and glutes, try a side or lateral lunge.

Stand up nice and tall with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart.

Keeping your left leg straight, step to the side with your right leg, bending at the knee. Hold for a second, then come back to standing.

When you’re stepping to your side, make sure you’re pushing your butt back or pretending that someone is pulling you backward by your belt loop, the same as you did with a squat.

Complete ten to 20 reps per side. Repeat for two to three sets.


Working the Hamstrings & Glutes

Instead of hopping on the curling machine to strengthen your hamstrings or glutes, try a deadlift.

The deadlift promotes movement between the hips and pelvis, which helps protect the low back.

That said, it’s important to use proper form when performing this exercise.

Like the squat and side lunge, stand up tall and pretend your belt loop is being pulled from behind. Hinge back, hold for a second, and come back to standing.

Complete ten to 20 reps. Repeat for two to three sets.

Get Back to Doing What You Love

If you’re struggling to find exercises that help you move and feel better, our Physical & Occupational Therapists can help.

Treatment is covered by insurance, no referral is required, and with flexible appointments you can find an appointment fast that works with your schedule.

Call 716-458-1990 or go here to schedule at one of our 12 locations throughout Western New York.



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