Wet, slimy, noisy, some say even tasty. No, I am not talking about frogs the amphibians. There is an exercise I learned in Pilates I know as Frogs. I can’t think of a move we do in Nia that is comparable. You lie on your back with your legs in the air. Your heels touch, toes out, feet flexed like in first position, your thighs are squeezing. Then you bend your knees, then straighten them as if you are jumping like a frog. This can be a somewhat big bend or a little pulse-type movement. Concentrate on keeping the heels together, your feet flexed, and your thigh muscles tight. Make sure you squeeze really tight when your legs are straight. This is one of those exercises where bigger is not necessarily better. The little pulses really compel you to squeeze your legs.
You can add another element to the exercise if you would like, by lowering your legs to any degree. Another way to adjust this exercise besides lowering your legs is by making it more challenging by adding resistance tubing or a resistance band. You would hold the resistance band in both hands and secure the band around your heels/feet then do the same frog leg jumping motion.
This exercise is a great workout for the legs. With your feet flexed and heels touching you might sense your gastrocnemius and soleus, the muscles of the calves. You will probably sense the stretch. The lower leg muscles that are on the front of your legs are the ones you will probably sense most. These are the ones really working to keep your foot flexed. The anterior tibial is the main muscle used in dorsiflexion, which is flexing your foot towards your shin. Another muscles used in dorsiflexion is the extensor hallucis longus. So these muscles will get a great workout.
Really pushing through your heels and straightening your legs stretches the calves as well as the hamstrings. People with tight hamstrings might have to practice a bit in order to get their legs straight. Even though it is not the hamstrings that straighten the leg, when they are tight, the legs cannot always straighten. The hamstrings are the muscles that will work to bend the knee.
Now the main muscles that you will sense in this exercise are the quadriceps. These large muscles in your upper leg will be the ones that are helping you to keep your legs together. While you are doing this exercise you really want to concentrate on keeping your thighs together. squeeze them together. This squeezing is ONE of the ways this exercise works the thighs. It also works the thighs when you straighten the legs. The quadriceps are the ones that will also straighten the leg.
Since you are going to be flexing the knees and hips and rotating the thigh outward you are going to be working the sartorius. This muscle starts at the outside of the hip and crosses over the thigh bone and inserts in at the inner part of the tibia, the bone below the knee. This muscles crosses over two joints.
If you are really squeezing your legs this will also work your glutes. This exercise can even allow the abs to get in on the fun.
This is a great lower body exercise. It allows for so many muscles to be worked. As with many exercises it can be done a variety of ways to increase the challenge. So did you get down on the floor and try it in the middle of reading this? I am sure that your co-workers would understand.