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Get strong, sexy legs

Split Squat

Targets butt and quads

Stand with back facing a chair (about 2 feet away), hands on hips, and bend left leg behind you to place top of foot on chair seat.Squat, bending right leg 90 degrees with knee over ankle. Make it harder: After each full squat, do a half squat, bending just 45 degrees.Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch legs and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

Sissy Squat

Targets quads, hamstrings, and calves

Stand with feet hip-width apart with right side next to a chair, right hand holding seat back. Rise up onto toes (heels off floor) and bend knees 90 degrees as you lean torso back 45 degrees (so that body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders, abs tight.) Return to standing on toes. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Pistol Squat

Targets butt and quads

Stand with feet hip-width apart, fists in front of chest with elbows bent; lift right foot forward a few inches off floor, foot flexed. Squat, bending left knee 90 degrees, as you lift right leg to hip level in front of you. Make it easier: Let right heel hover close to floor. Do 15 to 20 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

Goblet Squat

Targets butt, quads, inner thighs, and hamstrings

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out, holding handle of a single dumbbell vertically with both hands in front of chest (like a goblet), elbows bent out to sides. Squat, bending knees 90 degrees. Make it harder: Holding weight in place, jump up slightly as you rise out of squat, landing with knees soft. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.


Three-Way Lunge

Targets butt, quads, inner thighs, and hamstrings

 Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of chest. Lunge forward with left leg (knees bent 90 degrees); return to start. Lunge left leg out to left, toes facing forward, and bend left knee 90 degrees. Return to start. Lunge backward with left leg to complete 1 rep. Repeat sequence with right leg. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps, alternating sides.


Good Morning

Targets abs, butt, and hamstrings

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding ends of a single dumbbell in each hand; bend elbows by sides to bring weight under chin. Keeping legs straight and maintaining arm position, press butt backward as you hinge forward at hips until back is near parallel to floor. Return to standing. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.


Single-Leg Dead Lift

Targets butt and hamstrings

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing front of thighs. Hinge forward at hips 90 degrees as you lift extended left leg behind you so that body is parallel to floor from head to left heel, arms hanging down. Return to start. Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.


Hamstring Curl

Targets butt and hamstrings

Lie faceup on floor, arms by sides, legs extended with heels pressing into a folded towel on floor. Slowly pull heels toward butt as you lift hips off floor until knees are bent 90 degrees and body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Slide legs forward to return to start. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Calf Raise Three Ways

Targets calves

Stand with balls of feet on bottom step of a staircase, heels hanging over edge, hands on hips. Turn toes inward. Lift heels high, then lower them slightly below level of step. Do 15 to 20 reps. Next, turn toes out 45 degrees; repeat. With toes forward, stand on left leg only, bending right leg behind you; repeat lifts. Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch legs; repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets of series.


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2012.

(Source: health-heaven)

(Source: health-heaven)

Your Best Legs Ever

Beginner Squat

Squats are one of the best leg exercises known to man… and woman! They require the full attention of your quads, hams, glutes, and calves and utilize smaller stabilizer muscles that really sculpt lean legs. This Beginner Squat is perfect for first-timers. Just be sure you use the chairs only for balance, not to hold your weight.

Step 1: Stand between two sturdy chairs with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Squat down, keeping your back straight, abs tight, chest up, and knees over your ankles, through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold for 2 seconds then return to the starting position through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.

Glute Kickback on Swiss Ball

Your glutes are actually made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle, which you know as your butt), the gluteus minimus (which lies below the gluteus maximus) and the gluteus medius (positioned on your outer hip and helps stabilize your pelvis during such movements as standing on one leg). This exercise is specifically targeted to give your butt the lift you’ve been wanting.

Step 1: Place the Swiss ball on a non-stick mat, then lie over the ball on your hands and knees, as shown.

Step 2: Keeping your knee bent, slowly press the heel of your foot toward the ceiling through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold and squeeze for 2 seconds. Lower your leg back to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds. Repeat.

Step 4: Without resting, switch sides and complete 2 more reps with the other leg.


Swiss Ball Squat

For some – especially those with weak knees or ankles – squats can be a challenge. This exercise, which uses the ball to provide stability and reduce pressure on your joints, is the perfect solution. If you don’t own a Swiss ball, just slide down and up the wall, minus the ball. Perform this exercise against a blank wall or locked door for safety.

Step 1: Position yourself in front of the wall (or door) with the ball supporting your lower back. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, about 1 foot from the wall. Cross your arms in front of your shoulders.

Step 2: Squat down through a count of 10 until you reach a 90-degree angle.

Step 3: Hold for 2 seconds at the MTP. Return to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.


Quadriceps Flex

Quads are a grouping made up of four (quad) muscles, which run along the top of your upper leg. Contracting your quads can either cause your knee to bend or your hip to flex – both important everyday, functional movements. This exercise requires some balance. Be sure to use a chair or stable countertop for support.

Step 1: Grasping a chair or other hip-level support, stand with feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, bend your knees as you allow your body to fall slightly backward, letting your heels come up off the floor.

Step 3: When your knees are near the floor (the MTP for this exercise), hold and squeeze your quads for 2 seconds.

Step 4: Through another count of 10 seconds, slowly return to the starting point.

Step 5: Without resting, repeat three times.


Plié Squat

The plié may be a classic ballerina move, but this squat doesn’t require a pink tutu. Turning your toes out targets the inner thigh muscles – often considered a very difficult area to isolate.

Step 1: With both hands, grasp a dumbbell and stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out to the sides, keeping them aligned with your knees.

Step 2: Squat down, as if you were about to sit in a chair, through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: Hold for 2 seconds at the MTP. Then, for a count of 10 seconds, push through your heels and return to starting point.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.

Lunge

Much like the squat, the lunge also utilizes all the major muscles of your legs and buttocks and requires concentration and balance. To avoid injury, make sure that your front knee stays aligned with your ankles, never crossing over your toes, and doesn’t bend farther than a 90-degree angle.

Step 1: With your back straight, chest up and abs tight, stand in a lunge position.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, drop your back knee toward the ground.

Step 3: When your knee is about 1 inch off the ground (the MTP for this exercise), hold for 2 seconds.

Step 4: Through a count of 10 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat.

Step 5: Without resting, perform 2 more reps on the other leg, totaling 4 reps.


Lateral Squat

Moving side to side in this lateral squat requires a lot of balance and hip stabilization – a job perfect for your gluteus medius. Remember, this muscle is positioned not where you consider your butt to be, but rather on the side of your hip. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders in line and don’t allow your knee to drop forward over your toes.

Step 1: With your hands on your hips, stand with your feet about a foot wider than shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, squat down to the side toward one leg, while keeping the opposite leg straight.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold for 2 seconds. Return to the starting position through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, alternate sides. Perform 2 reps on each side, totaling 4 reps.

(Source: health-heaven)

Strengthening your legs with best leg exercises:

Lunges: Lunges is the best leg exercise as it works all the muscles in the legs with one simple move. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take one giant step forward with your right foot. Hands should be placed on your hips for balance.

Now, lower your body straight down until your back leg forms a right angle at the knee. Raise yourself up slowly using your leg muscles and repeat the movement for 3 sets of 30 repetitions for each leg.

If you have knee pain, take smaller step forward and drop down as far as comfortable. While lunges are the best leg exercise, it can be challenging for people with bad knees. There are plenty of best leg exercises that strengthen the legs without placing too much stress on the knee.

Heel raises: Heel raises is one of the best leg exercises because this exercise can be done anywhere without attracting odd glances from strangers. Calf muscle is the target of heel raise and it is a problem area for many people.

Calves respond to strengthening very quickly and get in shape very quickly. Therefore this is the best leg exercise for people who want fast results.

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the hips for balance. Raise your body onto your tiptoes and hold it for few seconds. Lower back slowly. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 40 heel raises.

When you are ready for bigger challenge, stand on a stair or sturdy elevated surface and allow your heels hang off the edge. Raise and lower your body slowly for three sets of 25 repetitions. This works the calf muscle and result will be shown immediately.

Perform this workout by taking the stairs and step halfway only onto next step forcing your calves to work harder. This is the best leg exercise to target the calf muscles.

Plies: Plies is the best leg exercise to tone up the inner and outer thighs. Plies places less stress on joints and can be as intense or moderate as you need.

Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart. Take a small step out with each foot and turn your feet outward like a duck.

Hands should be placed on your hips or hold the back of the chair for support. Lower your body slowly down about six inches and raise it back up slowly.

Repeat the movement for 3 sets of 30 repetitions. Moving slowly forces the muscle to work harder and muscles strength will increase faster. Massaging and stretching also increases your muscle strength. 

(Source: health-heaven)

Exercises to Get Rid of Cellulite - Slim Down Your Legs!

1. Have a steady but long walk puts your body in a continuous rhythmic motion. This benefits not just the leg and thigh areas when it comes to getting rid of those cellulite but also most parts of the body from heads down; neck, shoulders, arms, back and the abdomen. However, how quickly and for how long you should walk, together with your body motions greatly determines if you’ll be just sweating it out or targeting at those cellulite.

2. Next, jogging at a comfortable but controlled pace will also benefit the whole body including our stamina. This exercise is especially target at cutting down cellulite on the legs. Again, special posture and motion is required to achieve the maximum result.

3. Swimming is probably one of the best exercises which tones most of our body muscles. Toning of muscles mean loosing of cellulite. It’s also an exercise that does not strain any particular part of the body. Which swim style to practice is also an important factor when it comes to getting rid of cellulite.

4. Last but not least, calisthenics is probably the most targeted form of exercise for address cellulite issues. This is to put the body into a sustained period of repetitive rhythmic body motions, performed over a period of time consistently and regularly. It is by far the ultimate form of exercise to get rid of cellulite.

The above recommendations may sound like the usual options for a general health well-being. However, if done according to a systematic plan that contains years of research and application specially for conquering cellulite, the result will amaze many sufferers.

(Source: health-heaven)

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