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Best Beginner Bodyweight Leg Strengthening Exercise (Also Protects Knees)

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in September of 2022. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xsd0JPNOcA&t=138s

Brad: If you want to start a leg strengthening program at your home, that's your level, this is for you. It's for beginners as well as advanced. This program's going to work your hips and your knees. Pretty much everything from the hips down.


Bob: Hamstrings, quads.


Brad: Hamstrings, exactly. We're going to show you how to do it to protect your knees. So you don't irritate your knees while you do it, and it's easy to progress the intensity. There is one thing that's important. If you happen to have a knee or hip replacement, you need to check with your doctor first to make sure that this is okay.


Bob should be, but just to be safe.


Brad: If it's recent, maybe not. If it's a year or two down the road, you probably can. Better to be safe than sorry. Now, this is kind of like doing squats, but it's so much easier. It's safer and it really gives good benefits, particularly if you're interested in

strengthening your legs for going up and down steps, hiking the hills, mountains, et cetera. There is one tool that people will need for this, stairs.


Bob: Right.


Brad: One step may be enough. Two, or at least three if you want to get to the advanced level, but how you do these is critical. You just don't go ahead and start going up and down the steps. I'm going to go up on the first step. If you have handrails, we're going to use those for balance, as well as assistance for resistance level. If you are just starting to do this, both handrails if they're there, use them. If you only have one, you could put a cane on the other side.


Bob: Yeah, if you are weak or just starting out the rails are helpful.


Brad: Exactly, right. Or if you're recovering from an injury, whatever it might be. So we're just going to go up, and with the same leg, go down with really good control for that eccentric strengthening. That's really important. So this is what they look like.


Bob: This seems very simple, but I really like it, Brad.


Brad: Right, you're going to find out how it gets harder if you would like to.


Bob: Right.


Brad: Now, there's one more thing I'm going to show you that you need to do to protect your knee. Okay, so if I'm starting here, watch at your knees, looking down right over your toes. It's not going to be to the right or to the left. A lot of people won't even think about it and watch my knee.

Bob: It'll collapse.


Brad Yeah, it collapses inwards.


Bob: That will make the pain worse.


Brad: It's going to be hard on the joint, hard on the ACL ligament. Watch that very closely.


Bob: That alone is great training.


Brad: Yeah, exactly. That's going to be good for your hiking, your walking, and even your running if you are a runner. So that's critical.


Bob: Big cause of knee pain is that knee collapsing.


Brad: Yep. There's one other thing to watch for, which is to watch how far you flex forward. You can flex as far as you would like to, as long as your knee doesn't hurt. If you get pain, you're going to have to go back down to the lower step and do it where it doesn't hurt.

Bob: Right.


Brad: Do it so it doesn't hurt. Don't irritate the knee so you get a flare-up out of this. Okay, in regard to a complete exercise workout, you're going to start out with your right leg or the left. Use good mechanics. Start with both handrails and progress to no hands as it gets easier. If you want, you can put both hands out in front of you. Work your balance!


Bob: Be safe!


Brad: It is not necessary to go without holding on, I would recommend most people have one hand on the rail. Okay, you do 10 of them. Make sure you do right and left, obviously. When that gets too easy, you simply go to the next step up. Now good posture, don't lean really forward like that. We want to have a good posture upright, and we're going up and down slowly. If you cannot go down slowly without good control, there should be no pain, then you're not ready for it.

Bob: Again, don't allow the knee to collapse in.


Bob: Right, so if it drops in, you're not ready for it unless you can control those mechanics. Very important! Make sure you do both legs. Now what I like to do, and I have patients do, if it's getting too easy and you think maybe you could go to no hands, but you're afraid of falling, simply go fingertips on the rail. That makes a big difference as far as resistance, but you're still safe.


Bob: The rail is right there.


Brad: Yeah. You know where that rail is if you need to grab it. It's very quick to grab. There we go, and you know, if you are really ambitious and you've got strong legs and you're hiking, like I'm going to do some hiking this winter or this fall in the mountains, I'm going to put a backpack on.


Bob: Sure.


Brad: Then, I'll throw some weights in it, and then I'm going to do it that way.


Bob: Or just put some books in it.


Brad: Yeah, put some books in it! Yeah, or what else could you put in there, Bob?


Bob: Something heavy.


Brad: Yeah, some food, I don't know. But it's a nice way to work out. You can work at any level you want.


Bob: It's going to bulk you up.


Brad: Ah, strong like bull! Ready to get up and down.


Bob: There you go.


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