Exercises for General Fitness

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting a few exercises and stretches per week to help you improve your general fitness. These exercises are mostly equipment free so that you can do them at the gym, at home, and even at your desk at work! 

Double leg Squat

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and lower your hips as if you were sitting in a chair positioned behind you. Keep your knees in line with your second toe and don’t let them go forward over your toes. Then, when your knee joint is around a 90-degree angle, straighten your legs. Be sure to keep normal posture in your back throughout the movement.

Calf Raises

Standing with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart, raise your heels with your calf muscles, then slowly lower yourself back into the starting position

Single Leg Squat

Position yourself near a wall or sturdy beam you can use for support. Shift your weight onto one leg and once you are balanced, lower yourself slowly over your planted foot while keeping your knee positioned over your second toe. Push up through your toes to straighten your leg. Your quads should be doing most of the work, with your hip muscles working to stabilize the hip joint.

Lateral Lunges

Standing with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, step to the right with your right foot and slowly lower yourself over your right leg by allowing your knee to bend. Then straighten your leg to step back to the starting position and do the same movement with the other leg

Chair Dips

Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair and place your palms on either side of your hips. Shift your weight onto your palms, lifting your butt forward and off the seat of the chair. With bent knees, bend your elbows and lower your upper body until your elbows make a 90-degree angle. Straighten your arms and repeat. To increase the difficulty, extend your legs.

Lunges (alternating legs)

Start by standing with your back straight and feet a little less than shoulder width apart. Then place one leg slightly more than a step’s length in front of you, keeping your knee in line with your second toe, and making sure your knee does not go past the front of your foot. To return to the start position, push up through your toes to activate your quad muscles and straighten your leg. Repeat, alternating which leg is forward each rep.

Stair Step-ups

Stand about a step length away from a stair, then place one foot on the stair in front of you. Straighten your forward leg to bring your torso and both feet onto the stair. Carefully step backward onto the ground with the same leg you stepped up with. Alternate legs each rep, 10 step-ups for each leg.

Knee Planks

Start lying with your stomach on the floor, then prop your upper body up on your elbows by placing them under your shoulders. Raise your hips so that your elbows, forearms, and knees are the only body parts touching the ground, then activate your abdominal muscles to stabilize your body in that position.

Knee Push-ups

Position yourself the same way as you did for the knee planks, but prop your upper body up with your hands instead of your elbows. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower yourself by flexing your elbows, and push yourself back up using your chest and triceps. If these are too easy for you, extend your legs so your toes are on the ground and not your knees:

Stretches

  • Quads – stand on one leg and bring your other foot up behind you, holding the top of your foot with the hand of the same side (e.g. hold R foot with R hand, and vice versa). Tuck in your stomach and shift your hip forward. Keep your knee pointed down at the ground, and hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds.
  • Ilio-tibial Band – Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift your right leg up and position it across your body so that your right hip is above your left. Keep your shoulders on the ground, and hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds.
  • Calves – Position yourself about a stride length away from a wall or sturdy beam, facing the wall. While keeping the heel of your back foot on the ground, step toward the wall or beam and lower yourself slowly over your front foot until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of the rear leg.