These exercises can be completed with or without exercise equipment. They will be listed as though you would perform them at home without equipment. You can hold hand weights if you want to increase the resistance.
Squats are an overall great exercise. They target mainly the quads (front of the legs), but they also work the lower back, hamstrings and butt. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointed in their natural direction, core tight and your back in it's natural arc. Start squatting down (feel as though you are trying to sit in a chair that is low to the ground), squat until your thighs are parallel (do not go as deep if you feel pain in your lower back or knee joints.) with the floor. Return back to the top just before locking the knees out straight. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps each.
The lunge will also work the quads, hamstrings and glutes (butt). Start off in a standing position, place one leg out in a long stride, bend at the knee, bring the thigh of the forward leg to parallel with the floor. The back leg will start to come down to the floor, bring it down just before the knee touches the floor. You can either alternate legs (going back and fourth) or you can perform all the reps for that set one leg at a time. perform 3 sets of 15 reps per leg.
Step-ups will also target the quads, hamstrings and glutes. With this exercise, use a sturdy step stool or chair (make sure whatever you use to step on can hold your body weight and that it is stable and not slippery). Whatever you choose to step on can be from a few inches off the ground (the higher the more challenging.) to about or above your knee level. Step up with one foot, keep your balance, bring the other foot up, then bring the first foot back to the floor. Repeat throughout the set. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps per leg.
This exercise will target the front upper thigh, it also helps work the abs (the abs activate when the knees are lifted high) and will help with cardio conditioning. Stand in place and start marching. Bring your knees as high as you can comfortably. March in place for 10 minute. If 10 minutes is too much at the beginning, then do what you can and build up to it.
This exercise will work the quads, hamstrings and glutes and stamina of your legs. You will be with your back against a wall, squat down to thighs parallel with the floor. Pretend you are sitting in an imaginary chair and that the wall is the back of the chair. You do not perform reps with this exercise. Hold it stationary. The goal is to get to 30 second holds, it may take time, but you can build up to it. Perform 3 sets.
A beginner should use the static wall squats and high knee marches, then add on of the other exercises. An intermediate can use all exercises as listed, an advanced person will use all exercises and increase the number of sets. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
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