Leg mobilization workouts help to warm up while increasing the flexibility of the joints and muscles of legs. These exercises have been proven to be really effective and are often used as healing exercises. Mentioned here are nine such leg mobilization workouts that are extremely simple, easy to perform and highly effective. However, it is highly advised that you consult an expert or professional before including any of the workouts into your exercise routine.
Stand on your toes while the heel of one foot is positioned just in front of the toe of the other foot. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead. Walk for around 20 steps on your toes. Take small steps and try to remain steady by focusing on the spot that you want to reach. You can extend this exercise by walking 20 feet on your toes with your feet rotated out and another 20 feet while your feet are rotated or pointed in. Toe walking does not consume much time and can be performed in few minutes.
Hand- to- foot kick
Stand straight with your feet firmly placed on the ground. Extend your right hand straight in front of you. Lift your left foot high enough so that you can touch your right hand with the foot. Your leg should cross your body and turn towards the right side so that it can touch the right hand. The movement of touching the hand with the foot would resemble that of kicking the hand. Repeat the same process with the left hand and right foot. Repeat this exercise for 10-12 times with alternating feet. This exercise stretches your legs and brings more flexibility to the joints and muscles of the legs.
Step downs are good for strengthening the quads and gaining more control on the knee. This exercise makes downhill running easier and more comfortable. Choose a prop or an item that is strong & steady and is between 2″-6″ in height. Stand on this item and keep your hands on your hip bones. Slowly place your left foot on the ground while the right foot stays back on the prop. While you step down your full concentration should be on the front leg and not on the leg that is on the back on the stepper. Slowly pull back your left leg on the stepper and repeat the process with the right leg. Perform this exercise for about 30 repetitions.
Clam shell improves the control and functioning of the muscle called gluteus medius. It is often beneficial for long distance runners with ITBS. Lie on a bench or on a mat on your side. Your hips should be positioned at 45 degree and your legs must be positioned at 90 degree. Keep your heels together and slowly lift the upper knee by turning out at the hip. Keep your pelvis perpendicular to the bed, bench or mat instead of rolling back. Hold this position for around 10 seconds. Return to the initial position. Repeat for 10 times before changing the side and perform the exercise with the other leg.
Stand on the floor with your back, legs and knees straight. Extend your hands in front of you. Take steps to walk forward while lifting your leg high enough to touch the palms of your hands. Keep your leg straight without bending the knee. Flex your toes. Take 20 steps while alternating the legs. Perform the exercise slowly while focusing on the lifted up legs rather than on the steps that you take. This is a good stretching exercise for the legs which also strengthens the leg muscles. The exercise also provides flexibility to the feet.
Single leg raise
This exercise strengthens the gluts, obliques and thigh muscles and helps them to work together more efficiently. Single leg raises also improve the hip control and pelvic stability. Lie on your back with bent knees and your hands resting by your sides with palms down. Lift your pelvis up and slowly lift up and extend your right leg. Shift the entire body’s weight on your left leg. Keep the pelvis in the same level without letting it drop towards one side. Hold this position for 10 seconds then lower the pelvis. Repeat with the other leg. You can also place your hands on your hipbones during this exercise to make sure that the hands do not share the weight of the body while performing the exercise.
Leg swings are good workouts for the hip apart from being good ankle mobility exercise. Stand straight with your hands extended by your sides. Lift your right leg and swing it to and fro for 10-12 times. Then swing the same leg across the body towards your left side for another 10-12 times. Repeat the process with the left leg. Keep your legs straight during the workout and try to lift your legs as high as you can during swinging. Leg swings are often included in the exercise regime of athletes with poor ankle mobility. For a variation of leg swings you can try to do the exercise in water or pool.
Start by standing straight. Take steps to walk forward. While walking give an exaggerated back swing to the leg so that your foot reaches your backside and your heel touches the butt or the glute. Once you get accustomed with this exercise you can try to increase the level and try the workout while jogging. Around 20 steps while alternating legs would be sufficient to get benefit from this exercise. Butt-kicks help to increase the flexibility of the knees and the leg muscles. It also strengthens the leg muscles.
Upper leg workout
Extend your legs in front of you while you are sitting upright or lying down. Place a rolled up towel beneath your right ankle. Tense up your right thigh muscle and try to push your knee down. This will stretch the backside of your knee. Hold this position for 8 seconds. Then release the tension and relax for 10 seconds. Perform this for 10 times with the right leg before going for 10 repetitions with the left leg. This exercise stretches the hamstrings and increases knee flexibility. It makes regular day work like walking, jumping, getting in and out of car, using stairs, etc. easier.