Workout Wednesdays – Leg Exercises Part 3

We know that it has been harder for people to exercise over these last several weeks. Christina Lombardi, DPT PT has put together easy exercises to get you moving at home! For the past several Wednesdays we shared exercises with you. Each exercise included descriptive information and a video to demonstrate how to do it. This is the final week of exercises and it will focus on legs. Next week we will continue the series with stretches.


Forward Straight Leg Raise

  • Muscles: Hip flexors/ quadriceps
  • Movement:

    • Lie on your back
    • One knee bent, one leg straight
    • The straight leg- flex your foot up, squeeze your thigh muscles
    • Lift the straight leg up in the air about 3-6 inches off surface
    • Slowly lower down
    • Perform on one leg and then switch to other side
  • Recommended Guideline:

    • Begin with one set of 10 reps, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10 reps
      • If 10 reps is too difficult try aiming for 5-8 reps
  • Key Points:

    • Squeeze your thigh muscles 
    • Slowly lift the leg up and lower the leg down
      • Do not let it just drop
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Side-lying Hip Abduction

  • Muscles: Hip abductors, hip external rotators
  • Movement:

    • Lie on your side
    • Bend the bottom leg for support 
    • The top leg should be straight
      • Make sure your hips and legs are aligned (hip stacked) 
      • Flex the foot forward
    • Lift the straight leg up about 3-6 inches
    • Slowly lower down
    • Perform on one leg and then switch to other side
  • Recommended Guideline:

    • Begin with one set of 10 reps, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10 reps
      • If 10 reps is too difficult try aiming for 5-8 reps
  • Key Points:

    • Squeeze your thigh and butt muscles 
    • SLOWLY lift and lower the leg down
      • Do not let the leg just drop 
    • Make sure your hips are stacked and your body is in good alignment
    • Keep your knee straight and maintain your toes pointed forward the entire time (foot flexed)
      • Do NOT rotate your leg
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Side-lying Clamshell

  • Muscles: Hip abductors, hip external rotators
  • Movement:

    • Lie on your side
    • Bend both legs
    • Draw up the top knee while keeping your feet together 
    • Pause for a few seconds
    • Slowly lower down
    • Perform on one leg and then switch to the other side
  • Recommended Guideline:

    • Begin with one set of 10 reps, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10 reps
      • If 10 reps is too difficult try aiming for 5-8 reps
    • Pause for 3-5 seconds, then can progress to 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:

    • Do not let your pelvis roll back during the lifting movement 
    • Pause at the top and SLOWLY lower the leg down
      • Do not let it just drop
    • Make sure your hips are stacked and your body is in good alignment
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Hip Adduction (Squeezes)

  • Muscles: Hip Adduction (inner thighs)
  • Movement:

    • Lie on your back
    • Bend both legs
    • Place a pillow, towel, ball in between thighs
    • Squeeze the object firmly
    • Hold for a few seconds
    • Relax & repeat
  • Recommended Guideline:

    • Begin with one set of 10 reps, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10 reps
      • If 10 reps is too difficult try aiming for 5-8 reps
    • Pause for 3-5 seconds, then can progress to 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:

    • Do NOT HOLD your breath
    • Do NOT ARCH your back
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Bridges

  • Muscles: Glutes 
  • Movement:

    • Lie on your back
    • Bend both legs
    • Tighten your stomach muscles 
    • Lifts your bottom off the surface
    • Squeeze your butt muscles 
    • Relax & repeat
  • Recommended Guideline:

    • Begin with one set of 10 reps, then progress to 2-3 sets of 10 reps
      • If 10 reps is too difficult try aiming for 5-8 reps
    • Pause for 3-5 seconds, then progress to 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:

    • Do NOT HOLD your breath
    • Do NOT ARCH your back
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Disclaimer: You should discuss your health risks with your provider before starting any exercise program.


Christina graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Secondary Education from West Chester University. She continued her studies at Temple University in Physical Therapy, graduating with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in May 2015. Christina began her career in outpatient physical therapy and has worked per diem in both the acute and rehabilitation care settings. She treats a variety of orthopedic and neurological diagnoses in her current role as a staff therapist for Good Shepherd Penn Partners. Recently, Christina developed an interest in Oncology. Last year, Christina’s dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and her cousin with ovarian cancer. In addition, within the past year, a few of Christina’s friends have also been diagnosed with cancer. Because of her love for family and friends and her passion for physical activity and wellness, she realized that she could help touch so many lives. Christina joined the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association in May 2019 and is beginning to take continuing education courses to develop her clinical knowledge and expertise. She instructs indoor cycle classes and has her Level 1 CrossFit Certification. She enjoys  various forms of exercise and other health and wellness related activities and topics.