Today, Whitney Samuelson, a personal trainer at Alpha Studio and Kansas University graduate with a degree in exercise science, focuses on three moves to help tone and strengthen the legs.
Samuelson, who tore her ACL playing volleyball in high school, says she likes to help teach exercises that prevent injury as well as improve the client’s appearance.
“After surgery and rehab, it was a long haul,” she says. “My knee brace was my security blanket for a long time. Then, I really got involved in training and total body, working all the different planes of motion to prevent injury. Now, I want to share it with as many people as I can, whether they’re an athlete or not.”
Samuelson says when exercising, the important thing to remember is quality, not quantity.
“Form is very important. As for repetitions, you can start out with 10. Maybe 12 or 15. For a beginner, I always say, ‘Do as many as you can with proper form.’”
Stability ball leg curl
(Works hamstrings and strengthens core muscles.)
Lie on your back. Place the bottoms of your feet on top of the ball with knees at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your legs, driving through your heels and lifting your hips off the ground, keeping your core tight. Don’t let your hips sag. Keep them high and on a flat plane with your torso. Return to bent-knee position and repeat.
(Tones inner thighs, quads and glutes. Stretches groin, increases strength.)
Stand up tall, feet shoulder-width apart. Hands can be on hips, stretched to the front or sides. Take an elongated step to the side and slightly forward, sending the hips back and drop into a lunge. Be carefully not to bend the knee first. Then, drive off that outside leg and return to standing position. You can alternate legs or do multiple reps with the same leg before switching.
(Targets the quads and glutes.)
Stand with feet hip width apart, toes slightly pointed out. Push your hips back, stick your butt out, then lower yourself and come up again. Keep your chest up and open. Be sure to move the hips back first. Resist the temptation to bend the knees first, because your body will move too far forward and everything will come out of alignment. Return to standing position.