Great Leg Series on the Mat

Here is a great quick set of mat exercises that target the thighs and glutes.  You can do them at home...while you're watching House Hunters.  Do them everyday and you will feel stronger and longer, I promise!

Starting on knees and forearms, shoulders stable, sides of the neck long, abdominals wrapping, extend one leg back.  Hinge the leg down to the floor from the hip not the waist and draw it back up on your exhale as you draw the abs in.  Thinking about drawing your abs in as you lift the leg will help to stabilize your pelvis and back so that you don't use your low back.  Repeat 15 times.  Also try with the leg and hip gently turned out.  Always listen to your body, connect with what you're feeling so that if something doesn't feel quite right you can adjust.

Starting on both knees, body upright, extend right leg directly to the side as well as left arm to the side.  Slowly start to lean over to the left until the left hand touches down on to the mat to support you and float the right leg up to the side.  Left hip should remain over the left knee.  Right hand can be on waist or behind your head.  Stabilize left shoulder, lengthen both sides and back of neck, and gently wrap your abdominals.  Slowly lower and lift right leg 8-10 times then hold it up and slowly circle the leg 8 times.  Keep it controlled and slow.  Try not to get the hips swirling around with the leg, just the leg bone gently rotates in the hip joint.  

Start in quadra-ped (hands and knees) with a 3 or 5lb weight placed behind your right knee.  Shoulders are stable, back of the neck is long, spine is neutral and abdominals are lifting off of your shirt so you feel stable through the low back.  Keeping the leg wrapped around the weight start to slowly lift the leg, sending the foot towards the ceiling.  If you don't pay attention to the weight you might drop it so focus on that wrapping, also that will help you to engage your hamstrings which is what we want.  Slowly lower leg back towards the floor without ever touching the knee down again until you are finished with the whole set.  Do not move from the waist, move from the hip joint so the back and pelvis remain fixed. 20 reps.