What a perfect place for a strength session? I’m spending the week with my friend on her ranch. This is her backyard and her dog, Shorty. She raises grass-fed beef, does all her ranch work on horseback and leads range rides for people like you and me who want to release their inner old-time cowboy.
In the middle of a five miler (before spending eight hours/the rest of the day in the saddle!), I stopped for this leg trasher workout composed of isometric plié squats, squats on incline, and calf raises. You’ll do three sets of each of the following three exercises, including slight variations. First round, hold the plié for three minutes. Yes, this is torturous, but you’ll thank me when the next set is only two minutes. Finally, the third set is one minute. Plié means fold or bend, so fold your knees until your femurs/upper legs are pretty much parallel to the ground. Here I’m cheating:
This is better:
Take a wide stance, toes turned out and sink down, you might even physically push your knees out to keep the awareness of them not collapsing inward. Try to keep your tailbone tucked and just hold it. This is isometric, meaning, you don’t move. Hold for three minutes. Three grueling minutes that will transform your quads. I for one have wimpy, WIMPY quads, my nemesis. About mile 22 into a marathon the quads are the first to start to feel icky, it never fails, so join me in callusing our quads together.
After the three minutes holding your plié squat. Pat yourself on the back, hardest part accomplished. Shake out your legs and within about 20 seconds, go into squats. Try to do these on an incline, a gently sloping hill works wonderfully. For the squat, your feet are past hip distance, so about two feet apart and toes are straight forward. Easy. Do 50 reps and focus on squeezing the booty as you stand up. Keep your abs tight, protecting the low back. These squats will not vary. Do each of the three sets in this fashion.
Third exercise is a fav of mine. Calf raises are easy but also easy to do sloppily. Raise up and hold for one to two seconds and then lower down. You’ll work on balance and you’ll crank on your calves more than if you just try to tear through the 50 reps as fast as possible. Each set of 50 will be different: toes forward, toes pointed in and toes pointed out. The pic above is the toes in variation. This will change things up a little for you and your legs.
Workout summary: each rep is followed by about 20 seconds+/- rest
3 min. plié squat
50 calf raises, toes in
2 min. plié squat
50 squats on incline
50 calf raises, toes forward
1 min. plié squat
50 squats on incline
50 calf raises, toes out (45 deg or so)
Go get ’em, Tiger!
The workout took me about 17 minutes. It might take you less. After all, I was taking pictures.