Muscles involved: Quadriceps (front of the thigh) and abdominal (stomach) muscles.
- Lie down on the floor with the back flat. Use a yoga mat, folded blanket, or exercise mat for comfort on a hard floor.
- Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body.
- Pull the abdominal muscles inward by imagining the belly button pulling down toward the floor. Doing this should bring the lower back down against the floor and help provide extra support during the exercise. Place a hand beneath the lower back to make sure that there is no space between the small of the back and the floor. If there is space for the hand, gently push the lower back down on top of the hand.
- Slowly lift the left leg without bending the knee. Keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the floor. It should not be higher than the bent knee on the right leg.
- Hold the left leg up for 5 seconds.
- Slowly lower the leg back down to the floor. Do not put it down too quickly or let it drop.
- Repeat two more times with the same leg.
- Switch sides and repeat.
What not to do?
- Do not let the back arch during the exercise.
- Do not jerk or bounce the leg or lift it above the knee on the bent leg.
- People who have osteoporosis or a back compression fracture should not perform this exercise.