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Back to Exercise Library.

Strengthening Exercises - Leg and Arm

The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. Stretch slowly, and never do any exercise that causes pain. If you are an athlete, your legs take a lot of abuse. Here are some advanced exercises for those with healthy knees, legs and arms that will get you ready for your sport.

Strength Exercise Menu

Knee Twist

strength twist

Lie on your back with your knees bent. While trying to keep your lower back flat, slowly let both knees fall together toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds, then go back to start position with knees up. Repeat other side. Repeat the exercise ten times.


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Side Leg Raises

Lie on side as shown with right leg bent and left leg straight. Slowly raise left leg upward. Hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times before switching legs.

*Roll mouse over image to view full exercise


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Leg Adduction

Lie on your side as shown with your left foot resting on a chair, and the right one below, resting on the ground. Raise the lower leg upward against the bottom of the chair. Hold for ten seconds and then return the leg to the floor. Repeat ten times then switch sides to exercise the left leg.

*Roll mouse over image to view full exercise


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Hip Adduction

Attach one end of a SportCord to a low stationary fixture, the other to the area three inches above your knee. Slowly extend your right knee outward toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds then return to starting position. Repeat ten times. Switch legs and repeat.

*Roll mouse over image to view full exercise


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Side Hip Adduction

Lie on side with knees and hips bent. Keep feet together. Now spread knees apart lifting upper knee toward ceiling. Do not separate feet. You can place a cuff weight on upper knee to add resistance. Repeat ten times each side.


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Bridge with Ball

bridge with ball

Lie on floor with heels on ball. Keeping abs tightened and glutes squeezed, slowly lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips and feet are in a straight line (don't arch back). Hold position five seconds and lower while maintaining ab and glute contraction. Repeat ten times for each set.

*Roll mouse over image to view full exercise


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Arm - Triceps Stretch

abdominal crunch

Position hands behind head as shown. Grasp right elbow with left hand and pull toward the left slightly to feel a stretch in the right tricep. Hold for five seconds, and then repeat with other arm.

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Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring stretch

Place a belt or rope around the arch of your foot. Slowly begin to bring your leg to a straight up position. Depending upon your flexibility, having your leg point straight up may not be a realistic goal. For those who have good flexibility, you may be able to go past the vertical position during your stretch.


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Bicep Curls with Ball

Sit erect on a Swiss ball with your chest out, shoulders relaxed and back. Maintain your lumbar curve and keep abdominal muscles tightened. Hold weights in hands and lift alternately bringing hands to shoulder level and down. Remember to relax shoulders and keep shoulder blades down and back. Repeat ten times with each arm, alternating.

*Roll mouse over image to view full exercise


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Military Press

dumbbell curl

Sitting on a ball or chair with dumbbells in each hand. Position your arms at shoulder level as shown, and then press upward to the ceiling. Repeat ten times. Try to do three sets.


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Side Pulldowns

pulldowns

Secure a Thera-Band or SportCord near the top of a door frame. Pull down and across the body (as shown). Be sure to keep the thumb pointed up when at the top of the pattern and rotate it down as your arm descends. Repeat ten times.


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Arm - Triceps Pulldowns

pulldowns

Anchor a Thera-Band or SportCord at the top of a door frame. Grasp the ends/handles, and pull down toward your hips, keeping your upper arms by the side of your body. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat ten times.


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Squats

squats
This exercise can strengthen a healthy knee, and prepare it for the high impact the knees may get performing activities such as skiing. To do this exercise, start with the feet shoulder width apart. Your hands are outstretched for balance. Lower your body slowly (do not bounce up and down) until the thighs are horizontal. Hold your squat position for five seconds, then stand. Repeat ten times.

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Leg Swings

leg swings
This exercise requires a great deal of balance. You may put one hand on a chair back to balance if need be. To do this exercise, stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you until it can almost touch the floor, eighteen inches in front. Next, slowly begin to swing the left leg to the side so the leg may touch the floor, eighteen inches to the side, then back behind you, then back to the starting position. You left leg will have made a large semicircle path from front to back. Repeat ten times, then switch legs.

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Standing Rotation

standing rotation stretch

If you want to get back in shape for rotational sports like tennis and golf, you need rotational stretches. Hold a racquet, golf club or broom across your shoulders as shown. Without moving your feet, slowly rotate your shoulders to the left, then back to the right. You may do this stretch for five minutes before playing a rotational sport to reduce risk of strain.

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Ski Exercise: Moguls

standing rotation stretch

Preparation and training can lessen risk of injury when skiing. Place a towel on the floor. Start on the left side and hop with both feet together to the right side of the towel, then without resting hop back to left side, and then back to the right, again without stopping. Continue for thirty seconds. Keep your hands out in front of your body as if you had poles in your hands. Repeat for ten thirty second intervals.

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Abdominal Crunch

abdominal crunchLie on your back with feet together, raised up (upper right). Raise your shoulders up slightly so they are four inches off the ground (upper left). Do not use your hands to jerk your head up. Hold for three seconds, then lower. Repeat ten times.

abdominal crunch 2

Lie on your back. Try to keep your low back in contact with the ground. Slowly lift your right shoulder up six inches off the ground. Merely raise your shoulders up six inches, hold for one second and lie down. Repeat for ten sit ups, alternating left shoulder and right shoulder. DO NOT do a full sit up. DO NOT put your hands behind your neck to jerk yourself upward.


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Hamstring Stretch II

Modified ab curlStart with your left leg slightly bent as shown, and with your right leg crossed over the other. Grab the left leg at the back of the thigh and pull toward the chest until the right leg is straight up, but no farther. Hold for five seconds, then return to starting position. Switch legs and repeat ten times.

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NOTE: We recognize that people may diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about non-surgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.

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