"Death Legs" Workout
* If you are rehabbing an injury, consult with a trained PT, such as San Francisco's Presidio Sport and Medicine!
* Patience & taking time off has proven both the most difficult and most effective part of any injury recovery for me.
* The STRETCHES at the end are as or more important than any of the excercises.
* Start with reps/sets/durations that are comfortable. Gradually increase over time as you get stronger and for more burn.

This workout originated as a rehab plan for a hamstring/glute injury in 2001 from the good folks at PSM - Thank you. Additions come from Darren Rhalves (U.S. Downhill skier) and soccer coaches. Obviously, this is a mere fraction of the great exercises out there.
* One set of all the bold exercises and stretches takes me about 60 minutes.
Phsyio Ball Squats 10-15 reps With Physio Ball between your lower back and wall, go from standing up to squatting with 90 degree bend in knees, and come back up. Do whole motion slowly. Advanced: Hold a weight above your head. Super Advanced: Stand on Dyna-Discs while doing it.
Wall Sits 1-3 min Basic wall sit - 90 degree angle in knees, feet shoulder width apart. Advanced: All weight in heels, toes are off the ground.
Quarter Squats 15-20 reps Do 1/4 the range of motion of a squat, (the middle portion). Go up and down in that range. Feet shoulder width or wider.
Single Leg Quarter Squats 15-20 reps ea. leg Same as above but balancing on one leg and doing it one leg at a time.
"Linebacker" deep squats 15-20 reps Like a quarter squat but start closer to ground, deeper bend in knees. Like you're wiping a blackboard clean with your butt. Small amount of motion, done slowly.
Ski Tucks 1-3 min Get into a downhill racer's tuck, and hold it. Feet shoulder width, arms out in front as if holding ski poles. As you straighten your lower back and reduce the curve, (as if you're trying to arch it) you engage the hip flexors. Play with your position - front/back, low/high. Don't go so low that you're chest is resting on the quads. If lower back starts to tighten up, curve it a bit, try to press your feet through the floor, and focus on the VMO quad isolation.
Super Deep Frog Squats 15-20 reps Deepest bend of all the squats. Put your hands on the ground, between your legs or behind your ankles, wide stance, and leave them there while you go up and down only a very slight bit. This continues to stretch you out in between the harder sets.
Dyna-Disc Ski Tucks 1-3 min Ski tuck, only done while standing on Dyna-Discs for balance.
Physio Ball Ski Tucks 1-3 min Ski tuck, only done while standing on / balancing on Physio Ball. Wide stance on the ball will help your balance. RECOMMENDED to do this near a prop for balance if you need to stabilize yourself during the exercise when you are first starting. (also may be necessary for getting on to the ball in the first place).
WARNING: Most (SF) health clubs frown upon this, so I only do them at home.
Hips & Butt
Side Steps w/ ankle band

25-50 steps ea direction

Put an elastic band around your ankles, and with knees slightly bend, good upper body posture, and hands on hips, take a side step as wide as you can but slowly, leading with the heel, bring the other foot to catch up, and travel sideways this way until it burns.
Skater Steps / ankle band 50-75 steps Elastic band around ankles, hands on hips. Walk forward, with each step starting by bringing your leg back as if cross-country skiing, straight back and out at a slight diagonal behind you, then stepping on to it slightly in front of you. NOTES: Start the motion by engaging your butt muscle first - clench it. Keep your leg straight and locked out at the knee as you bring it back behind, then bring it forward in front of your other foot so you are travelling forward.
Supine Abductors on ball 15-20 reps On Physio Ball with lower stomach, lift legs so they are parallel to ground, and with elastic around ankles, open and close legs in straight position.


Hamstring Curls 15 reps If at gym, do Hamstring Curls - one leg at a time. OR, on the Physio Ball: Lie on back, with heels on physio ball. Lift pelvis so body is one straight plane. With heels on ball, roll the ball to your butt, and then back out again. Keep body straight and elevated the whole time. Critical to keep pelvis as high as possible. ADVANCED: Do this one leg at a time.
Glute Extensions on Ball 15-20 reps Lie on Physio Ball with stomach, and place hands on ground for balance. Keep legs pressed together and straight. Slowly, lift legs from ground up until they are parallel to ground, and slowly lower them. *Don't lift them too high so you are arching your back.*
Kickers on ball 20 reps Stomach on Physio Ball, hands on ground for balance. One foot touching the ground. With the other foot, in bend knee position, limited (small) range of motion, kick up away from ground, and then lower it again. Sole of foot should be parallel to ceiling.
Calves & Shins
Calf & Heel Walks - Straight 1-2 min ea. Get up on your heels, and walk around, for a minute (or more). Then do the same up on your tippy toes.
Calf & Heel Walks - Toes In / Out 1-2 min ea.

The exact same as above, but do it with toes pointing in first (both on heels and toes), and then w/ toes pointed out (both on heels and toes). Exagerate it.

Quadriceps 30-60 sec ea leg Stand straight, Hips straight shoulders back, Knees in line. Hold at ankle not on foot. Stay upright
Hamstrings 30-60 sec ea leg Stand straight. Straighten your planted foot. Place other leg on table or ledge. Pull it back in to you 3-4". Slowly lean upper body forward. Relax. Hold it. Increase.
IT Band 30-60 sec ea leg

(e.g. for right leg stretch.) Start in position as if you were stretching the hamstring (above). Move right leg across body 6" toward your left, so it is now crossing your body. Roll to outside of heel of the right foot. You should feel this from the outside of the right knee all the way up to the hip - your whole IT Band.

Hip Flexor 30-60 sec ea leg With support foot planted firm and pointing straight forward, bring your other foot up onto a a surface that is around waist-high, directly in front of you.
Hand on Hips for balance and to keep torso upright and straight.
Slowly, Lean in so you feel a stretch in the hip flexor of the leg that is planted on the ground. Then... squeeze your planted side butt cheek to accentuate the stretch. Should feel it in upper quad / hip area.
Supine IT Band / Butt 30-60 sec ea leg Lie on Back with both legs bent, feet on the floor. Pick up one foot and cross it over so the outside of that ankle is now on the front of your other knee.
With your hands, grip the hamstring right behind that planted leg knee, and slowly pull that leg into you, which gives a stretch to the IT Band of your leg that is bent and crossed over. Try to keep both shoulders on the ground.
Advanced - use the "prop" leg (the one not crossed over), to actually push your crossed leg further towards your chest. Do this gently at first.

J's Philosophy
* Injury Free. Any competitor with a bit of history knows how important and how elusive this is. Divine.
* Consistency. More valuable than intensity. Just keep on showing up at the track, pool, bike path, gym, yoga studio.

* Sleep. This is when your body rebuilds and thus the key to gains, improvement and recovery.

* Nutrition. Quality calories matter. For energy & stamina, gains, recovery, and also for weight, as in strength:weight ratio!
* Massage. Worth the time and price, on a regular basis! Tops in the Bay Area: Andy Tubbs, Hillary Hedden, Carolyn Hart.
* Attitude. My dad always said life is 5% what happens and 95% what we do about it. Attitude is everything.

© 2010  Jonathan Shambroom.  Feedback