Strength training: how to do leg raises correctly, according to a fitness trainer

A 10-minute full body workout you can squeeze into even the busiest days

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It’s not always easy to keep on top of our fitness, especially if other plans and commitments keep getting in the way. But this quick 10-minute workout requires no equipment and can easily be fitted into a packed schedule. 

Lockdowns are about to lift, Christmas is just around the corner, and everyone’s busy bingeing their latest Netflix obsessions. But, while it is good to have plenty to do during these cold autumn days, with so much going on at the moment it’s becoming harder and harder to find time for fitness.

No need to worry if your fitness routine is suffering at the moment, though, because it is possible to squeeze a good workout into even the busiest of days, and just 10 minutes of exercise can still be great for the mind and body.

So we asked personal trainer Veowna Charles to put together a quick full body workout that requires no equipment and can easily be slotted into a lunch break or hectic weekend. But first, you might be wondering just how beneficial such a short burst of exercise can really be… 

What’s the point in doing a short workout?

Well, for starters, something is always better than nothing, and even just a few minutes of exercise will count towards your weekly exercise goals. But more than that, you can also still get many of the amazing benefits of exercise out of a shorter workout.

According to Adidas, while shorter sessions may not help you achieve your longer term fitness goals, they can still improve everything from your cardiometabolic health to your mental focus, and control your blood sugar levels. We go deeper on just how good 10 minutes of exercise can be for you, and the article is definitely worth a read

10-minute-exercise-fitness-strength-training-strong-women-home-workout
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Warm up

Veowna recommends that you do a warm up before you start your workout, and indeed you should, particularly if you want to avoid injury and maximise your performance. She suggests doing the following exercises for 45 seconds each, and then rest for 15 seconds before starting the next one.

  • Inchworm to lunge
  • Forward to reverse lunge
  • Lateral to curtsey lunge
  • Sumo to narrow stance squat
  • High knee rotation

Work out

The workout Veowna has put together is a form of high intensity interval training, in which you work hard for a short period of time, rest, and dive straight back into the next move. She suggests doing the following eight exercises for 20 seconds each, then resting for 10 seconds before starting the next one. You should repeat this mini circuit eight times.

Squat to lateral knee raise

  • From standing, push your weight back into your heels and bend your knees.
  • Keeping your back straight, sit back until your legs are at a 90 degree angle.
  • As you drive back up to a standing position, lift your left foot off the floor, keeping the knee bent.
  • Bring the knee up high to the side of your body, and then return to a standing position and repeat using the other leg. 

Mountain climbers

  • Starting in a plank position, bring your left knee up towards your chest.
  • Return the left leg and repeat with the right, maintaining the plank position.
  • Go slowly at first, and then increase your speed so that it becomes a jumping movement.

Reverse lunge with front kick

  • Stand up straight, and step your left leg back so that you end up with both legs bent at the knees.
  • From here, push yourself up through your left heel, drive your left leg forwards, and kick it out in front of you.
  • Return to standing, and then repeat with the other leg.
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Plank rotation

  • Get into a plank position with both arms fully extended.
  • Twist your torso to the left, lift your left hand up to point it towards the ceiling, and look up at your hand.
  • Return your hand to the ground and repeat on the other side.

Side kick squat

  • Stand straight, and squat down until your legs are at a 90 degree angle.
  • Then, when pushing back upwards, lift your left foot off the ground and raise the leg straight out to the side.
  • Return to your starting position, squat back down, and repeat the exercise using the other leg.
Woman squatting
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Press up to back extension

  • Starting in a high plank position, lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows.
  • Once your body is flush with the ground, tighten your core and lift your arms and legs off the floor.
  • Return your hands to the floor, then drive through your hands to lift yourself back into a plank position, and repeat.

Lying toe tap

  • Lying on your back with your legs straight, lift them both off the ground so that they end up at or close to a 90 degree angle to your body.
  • Keeping your legs where they are, lift both arms and reach them up towards your toes.
  • Return your arms to the ground behind your head, then reach up again and repeat.

Bicycle crunch

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs out straight.
  • Bring your left knee up towards your chest.
  • At the same time, twist your torso to the left, so that the elbow of your right  arm ends up pointing at the lifted knee.
  • Just before the knee and elbow touch, twist back and return your leg to the floor, and repeat on the other side. 

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Images: Getty

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