Leg day is my favorite day, but it also kicks my ass (literally and figuratively). My favorite trick to get strong and stable for single-leg deadlifts, pistol squats, and barbell hip bridges? Hip drills! Personal trainer and injury-prevention specialist Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, PhD candidate taught me this trick, and we now do it before all of our workouts together.
This move seems simple, but it’s crazy hard — it’s like seated hip flexor pulses. Liz uses the move to fire up and strengthen my hip flexors before we tackle challenging leg moves. It’s a great way to warm up and activate muscles that have been pretty dormant from eight to 10 hours a day at a desk job.
Here’s how you do the beginner version (pictured above):
- Sit down on the ground with your left knee close to your body and your left foot flat on the floor; extend your right leg out at a 45-degree angle.
- Lift your right heel off the ground with your foot pointed or flexed, and pulse your leg upward 10 times.
- Keep your leg elevated, and draw circles with your foot 10 times before switching directions for another 10 circles. Then hold your leg up with your foot suspended and still for 10 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Now for the advanced version (the way I do it!):
- Sit down on the ground with your legs in a straddle position, with your legs opened to the sides.
- Lift your heels off the ground with your feet pointed or flexed, and pulse your legs upward 10 times.
- Keep your legs elevated, and draw circles with your feet 10 times before switching directions for another 10 circles. Then hold with your feet suspended and still for 10 seconds.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock