Karl Henry: 10 most important exercises you will ever learn... Week 8: Side leg raise
I hope you have been enjoying the exercises so far and adding them into your exercise routine. Don’t forget to try the adaptations too. Change is key to results and if it becomes too easy, you can make the changes each week to make it harder.
This week’s exercise may surprise you. The side leg raise is one of my favourite exercises — it’s simple to do, simple to adapt and great for your hips and glutes — a crucial area for stability and movement, especially as you get older. Men also tend to be weak at these, so it’s especially good for them.
This exercise is suitable for anyone of any age, so you can even do it with your family. If it’s too easy, just try the adaptations and it will become harder very quickly.
One of the reasons I love this exercise is because there are so many variations you can do to not only make it harder, but to hit different muscle groups too.
For a start, you can change the range of motion. Add in a top-half set — where you go all the way up and half the way down and back up again — or a bottom half set — where you go all the way down and half the way up and back up again.
You can also change the position of your foot by bringing the leg to the front of the body and repeating the exercises there or behind the body.The change in angles help to make the exercise much harder and hit a different set of muscle groups.
Obviously you can add more weight too, by using ankle weights or resistance bands.
Remember, it’s important to change up your routine as much as possible so give it a go.
Lie on your side on a mat or on the floor. Now ensure your joints are all in one line, from your ankle to your shoulder. Point your toe towards your face and rotate your hip forward to engage the hip muscles.
Keeping your upper body relaxed, raise your leg in the air while keeping it straight and then return back down. The movement should be slow and controlled, allowing the hip to do all the work instead of using speed. Repeat for 20 reps on one side and then repeat on the opposite side.
Health tip of the week
Aim for two of your meals a day to contain protein. You will read so much about protein these days, it has become this year’s fad in many respects. Protein is important — it’s the growth and repair tool that helps you recover after you exercise. Foods such as meat, eggs, fish, nuts/seeds and tofu are the main protein-based foods. I always recommend that my clients eat two protein-based meals each day, with a fistful of protein per meal, surrounded by lots of lovely vegetables. It’s a super simple way to add balance to your health routine.