Reclined on the couch reading cheesy romance novels and watching old movies can only last so long. I needed to move!
I try not to go too long in between workouts since atrophy kicks in pretty quickly for me due to the rigidity of my left fused ankle. I’m trying to keep my life relatively normal during my recoup time, including keeping up a (modified) workout schedule.
My movement limitations have forced me to get creative. Over the years, modifying workouts has become second nature to me so I thought I’d share some of the exercises I tweak to accommodate my foot.
Here are seven ways I build strength — no standing necessary:
- The Pretzel – Bend one leg in front while reaching the other to the back. Pulse up for 30, then keeping knee elevated reach to opposite corner for 30. Switch sides.
*I added a 2 pound ankle weight to my left side for extra
torture effort. (Found a pair for $3.99 at Marshalls!)
2. Scissor Kicks – Keeping your core engaged and upper body still, simultaneously extend one leg kicking front and the other reaching back, switching legs front and back fluidly.
3. Extension & Tuck using ball – Feel free to comment if you know the actual names for some of these exercises. This one focuses on core stability because that big ball will want to throw you off! I either squeeze the ball with the bottom hand (shown) or for added balance, place hand on the ground. Tighten your core and keep leg hip height as you reach top leg straight out and then bend to tuck in.
4. Push Up on the Ball – This is my favorite and a go-to even when my leg isn’t fragile. I love it because it keeps my toes and ankle out of the workout and it’s still pretty difficult! I keep my abs pulled in while lowering chest to the floor, elbows facing back, in a Pilates style push up.
5. Child’s Pose – Another favorite on the ball, especially since my ankle doesn’t allow me to do a full yoga child’s pose on the ground (can’t flatten the top of my foot). Keeping arms straight, hands firmly planted at shoulder distance apart, round your back and pull knees to nose. The ball allows a nice stretch through the back. Pull in abs to fire up the core.
*Bonus points – From child’s pose, extend legs, using the ball to roll your body straight out into plank position, with hands on the ground and legs elevated. Pull legs back into chest. Repeat.
6. Leg Circles with Ankle Weight – From the same starting position as #3, extend top leg hip high and draw small, controlled circles. Do 20 reps to the front, 20 to the back. I really started to feel that 2 pound ankle weight on this one, as shown in my facial expression.
7. One Legged Plank – No equipment necessary. Hold plank, hands under shoulders, booty level and stomach pulled in. I rested my left leg on top of the right for full body strengthening but no pressure on the toes. Hold for 30 seconds, three sets.
I included a few other ab workouts that day for good measure. That was it. It’s not ground breaking stuff, but when you’re laid up and feeling sluggish (or a tad blue) sometimes all it takes is a few old standards to bring you back to life.
Oh, and don’t forget your favorite Pandora station.