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At-home lower-body resistance exercises

Aug 12, 2008

Have you ever used your grandchild as a leg weight, or a dictionary to strengthen your thighs? Dr. Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM, is the recognized expert on physical activity and diabetes. This week she has some variations on her Lower-body resistance training exercises, that may surprise you.

At-home lower-body resistance exercises


By Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM

SheriTry the following easy versions of the same lower-body resistance exercise given in the past four columns that you can do using items you already have around the house. Have fun with these versions, or try using other household objects for variety.

  • Beach towel one-leg press (lower-body exercise #1): Try using a beach towel or sheet in place of the resistance band for the one-leg presses.
  • Olive oil squats (lower-body exercise #2): Do your squats while holding a bottle of olive oil (or other filled bottle or jar) in each hand.
  • Grandchild knee dips (lower-body exercise #3): Once you are in the sprinter’s position, have a reasonably small child climb onto your back for the remainder of the exercise to add weight.
  • Blanket knee lifts (lower-body exercise #4): Do your knee lift using a rolled-up blanket or sheet instead of a resistance band.
  • Dictionary leg extensions (lower-body exercise #5): Find a dictionary or other heavy hardcover book, open it to the middle, and balance it over the bottom of your shin and across your ankle to add weight to your extensions.
  • Encyclopedia leg curls (lower-body exercise #6): Try using a heavy book to enhance your leg curl work by balancing it (open to the middle) across the bottom of your calf and over your heel while you do your repetitions.
  • Water bottle side leg raises (lower-body exercise #7): Use a water bottle in a holder with Velcro straps, and secure the bottle (with varying amounts of water in it) to the outside of your ankle during side leg raises.
  • Soup can calf raises (lower-body exercise #8): Hold a soup can in each hand while doing calf raises (or try larger cans, jars, or bottles for more weight).

© 2006 by Sheri Colberg

In two weeks, you will find the start of a series of articles that will help you build your core strength and improve your balance. For more information, consult The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight by Sheri Colberg and The Science of Staying Young by John E. Morley and Sheri Colberg (2007).  Also, visit her web site at www.shericolberg.com for additional articles and access to her fitness blog.