Cardio Leg Challenge

Screenshot 2014-12-05 15.58.42This challenge was designed to get your blood pumping while working the legs – which contain some of the largest, hardest to change muscle groups in your body.

Our legs like to stay the way they are, and they don’t like to be told that they need to do anymore than carry us around all day. It’s hard work to convince them that they need to change.

Use the notes below to take on this challenge and convince those legs of yours that it’s time for a change! Feel free to click here (or on the image on the left) to grab the challenge PDF to save to your computer or print out and use later.

The Cardio Leg Challenge – The Moves

The moves in this challenge are all about your legs, but doing these big movements will get your heart pumping and will work your entire core and glutes.

Move 1: Jumping Jacks

This will wake your legs and your heart right up! Start with your legs together and your hands at your sides. Jump your legs out as you thrust your arms up.

jumping-jack

 

Be nice to your knees and pay special attention to your landing. Your knees should be bent and your feet should plant squarely under them as you jump out. This will help take the shock off of your knees, ankles and back as you land.

jumping-jack2

Move 2: Jumping Curtsy Squats (aka, “skaters”)

This is a move you’ll feel along the back of your legs for a few days. Start by shifting your weight into your left leg. Then, take your right leg behind the left, lining up knee behind knee. Squat down like this:

curtsy-squat-front

Here’s a look at it from the side:

curtsy-squat-side

Next, propel yourself up and jump to your right. Land a few feet away on your right foot (the further you jump, the more calories you’ll burn) and bring your left leg behind and squat down.

Jump from side to side like this. The move mimics that of a speed skater – keep that in mind to help you position your body and shift your weight from side to side.

Note – this position can be hard on the knees. As you can see in the photo above, you’ll be pitched forward a bit, but do try to keep the weight pushing back so that you don’t overextend your knees.

Move 3: Wide Legged Squat

While the last works on the outer portion of your leg, this one puts the focus on your inner thighs. Spread your legs wide, point your toes out and squat down.

wide-legged-squat

 

Stand back up, but don’t lock your knees, and the squat down again. Repeat over and over again.

Move 4: Tuck Jump

This move takes jumping to a whole new level. Start by giving yourself a good squat while your throw your arms back – you’re going to need some momentum:

tuck-jump

 

Leap into the air, grabbing as much height as you can:

tuck-jump-2

 

As you jump, tuck your knees up into your chest:

tuck-jump-3

As with all jumps, try to land softly. Bend your knees as you come down and squat back and coil up for your next jump.

 

The Cardio Leg Challenge – The Challenge

So – now you have the moves – here’s the challenge:

  • 1 minute Jumping Jacks
  • 30 second rest
  • 1 minute Jumping Curtsy Squats
  • 30 second rest
  • 1 minute Wide-Legged Squats
  • 30 second rest
  • 1 minute Tuck Jumps

Repeat 4 times

Modifications for Beginners

Give each move a try, but if you need to take it down a notch, here are some ways to do that:

  • Instead of jumping for jumping jacks, move your arms the same way, but simply tap one leg out to the side at a time.
  • Take the jumps out of the jumping curtsy squats. Step from foot to foot and squat.
  • Instead of tucking your knees up for the tuck jump, simply jump. Still use the big arm movements though.

Modifications for Experts

If you’ve mastered these moves and want to take it up a notch, consider these modifications:

  • Turn your landings into squats in your jumping jacks.
  • Make every 4th jumping jack a big star jump.
  • Do your wide legged squats up on your toes, like this:

wide-legged-squat-on-toes

 

Feeling Challenged? See the Change?

Let us know what you think about this challenge!

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