My Fitness Journey – Part 1 LEGS & ABS

Friday, 25 September 2015

My Fitness Journey – Part 1 LEGS & ABS

As requested on Instagram, today I will be sharing with you my favourite fitness exercises/what I do at the gym for my legs and abs, these can all be at home and without fancy gym weights! Just use tins of food, bottles of water or even your shopping bags. I started back at the gym back at the end of last year and since then have really educated myself on nutrition, discipline and exercise properly, so much so that I am looking into doing fitness orientated qualifications due to my new found love of fitness.

As these posts will be quite lengthy I’m going to split them up into 2 parts starting at the bottom; Part 1 LEGS & ABS and Part 2 ARMS & CARDIO
I’m really trying to work on my legs, as there the base to your whole body so should be looked after equally well. Plus your core supports your whole body in everything it does so a strong core means a strong body. 
I find my fitness inspiration through Instagram/Twitter/YouTube and from these social media sites I have found the most effective workouts for my legs, which so far are proving to show some results. These exercises will not only tone your legs but also help to lift and tone your bum.
LEGS






Single Bench Leg Lunge
Start off with holding the weights at either side of your body, facing away from the bench. Extend one of your legs back and place the top of your foot on the bench, the foot that is not on the bench should be facing forward in line with your knee. Once you’re in this position start to slowly squat down by flexing your knee and hip in a forwards direction, the leg on the bench should eventually nearly be in contact with the floor, once you have nearly reached the floor bring yourself back up to your starting position and repeat, once you have completed one side change legs and continue with your set.  I try to do this 5 times for each leg and do 2 sets.
Walking Lunges
This one can be done with or without weights, if your using weights start off with holding the weights at either side of your body, if you’re not using weights start with your hands on your hips in a standing position. Step forward with one leg, flex your knees to drop your hips down slowly keep doing this until you have nearly made contact with the floor. During this process remember to keep your back straight and upright, it may help to do it in front of a mirror. Once you’re in a purposing position, drive through the heal of your foot in front of you and extend both knees to raise yourself back up again. Step forward with your rear foot, the foot that was behind you during the lunge, and repeat this process. I try to do six lunges in one set and then turn around and do another 3 sets, so I do 4 sets in total with 24 lunges.






Weighted Squats
Start in a standing position with your feet just about shoulder width apart, have your weight either on your shoulders or held in your hands in front of you with your hips pushed backwards slightly. Keeping your body tight and back straight start too slowly lower yourself down, gently pushing your bum and hips backwards. Keep your back straight and your chest and shoulders up, I find focusing on something in front of me helps me to do this. As you’re lowering yourself down make sure your knees do not go over your toes, you can see this by looking down slightly and you should be able to see your toes still. Keep squatting until your hips are parallel with your knees, if you find this too much just go as low as your comfterable and build up in time. Slowly bring yourself back up and repeat that process, I like to do 15 free weighted squats and 15 weighted squats on the Smiths Machine.







Side Lunges
Start off in in a standing position with your hands in front of you; if you want to use a weight have the weight in your hands in front of you also. Bring one of your legs out and slowly take a step out to the right, make sure to keep your back straight and chest forwards. Keeping your left foot still, make sure your right foot is pointed forwards and staying in this low position. Extremely gently put a bit of pressure on your right leg to engage your muscles and bring yourself back to your starting position, repeat this process with the left leg until you have completed your set. I like to do 2 sets of 15, so each leg gets 30 lunges in total.  





ABS
Planking
Start off lying face forward on the ground, now get your elbows aligned just below/under your shoulders and keep your arms, shoulder width apart, parallel. Bring your feet up off the ground and keep on your toes, lean gently forward and keep your back straight. Hold this pose for as long as you can and then gently release your body to the ground, I can hold a plank for 6 minutes but for ab work I like to do 3 lots of 1 minute’s.
Crunch Variation
Sitting on an exercise ball roll your torso down so that you lay on your lower back, keep your shoulder blades downwards for stability when starting off, get your arms crossed over your chest and extend your elbows forward to your knees. Keeping your lower back on the ball, slowly roll back so your back naturally curves round the ball and extend your elbows up and over your head whilst doing so. When you have stretched over the ball with your elbows facing upwards, slowly bring yourself back to the starting position and repeat, this will engage your lower core and strengthen it.

Ab Circuit – Crunches, Bike, Scissor and Modified Press Ups’
Crunches
Lying with your back on the floor and knees bent; keep your arms either in front of you, and across your chest or behind your head slowly. Raise your shoulders towards your knees and then bring yourself back to your starting position, and repeat. I try to do 20 for each set, so after 3 sets you will have done 60 in total.
Bike
Lying on your back, raise your legs so your left leg is bent in towards you and your right leg is straight begin to alternate legs as if you’re riding a bike and keep doing this for 1 minute.
Scissors
Raise both legs toward the ceiling. Keeping them straight, lower your left leg until it’s about six inches off the floor, or however high you can raise it. Switch legs and repeat on other side. Quickly complete 15 reps without stopping.


Modified Press Ups’
Start on your hands and knees with your back straight; keep your hands just outside shoulder width and ever so slightly forwards to help you keep your balance. Keeping your knees aligned with your hips and stomach tight, bend your elbows to about 90 degrees to lower your chest to the floor, DO NOT KEEP YOUR ARMS STRAIGHT, once you are nearly at the floor push yourself back up and repeat 15 times.

I try to do this ab circuit 3 times so in total you will have done; 60 Crunches, 3 Minutes of Biking, 45 Scissors, and 45 Modified Press Ups’.  



Emma x
I am not a medical/exercise professional. All of the above techniques are based on my own personal opinions and experiences.
If you feel like you are struggling with any exercise please consult your GP or a qualified Personal Trainer first.
I have not been sponsored to mention any of the above products, all opinions are based on my own experiences.


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