Carrie Underwood’s legs are almost as iconic as the singer herself. Who doesn’t want legs like that? Here’s the deal. Only Carrie Underwood has Carrie Underwood’s legs. But, if you go beyond the superficial and look deeper, you too can understand how to get a leg up!
Take a look at her leg routine in this photo essay in the magazine Glamour. The exercises she does dig deep into both primary movers and smaller stabilizer muscles that might ordinarily escape your attention.
Let’s break down three of the movements she does so you can learn them.
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Try These 3 Intense Leg Exercises Inspired by Carrie Underwood
1) Cherry Picker
– Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell.
– Stand with your feet wide.
– Place the weight in front of you.
– Think “front, center, back.”
– Bend over and grab the weight while keeping your legs straight.
– Set the weight between your legs.
– Pick it up and move it back behind your legs.
– Pick it up and move it to the middle again.
– Then return it to the front. Stand up.
– Repeat the sequence 15 times.
Why it works: The Cherry Picker is solid strength and mobility work for your hamstrings. Contracting your glutes and controlling your hip flexors at the top of the movement while maintaining overall control will develop core strength and keep your back healthy too.
2) Knee lift to Side Lunge
-Stand on your right leg with your left knee lifted.
– Hold a weight in your left hand.
– With control, “fall” to the side into a lunge. Your base leg will be straight. Your outside knee will bend.
– Let the weight move toward your left foot as you bend your left knee.
– Push through your heel and use your inner and outer thighs to control your return to the knee lift.
– 15 reps on one side before switching legs.
Why it works: The lateral lunge with a knee lift is both a strength and balance move. It calls upon large muscles like quads, hamstrings and glutes. The knee lift involves strength and stabilization in your quads, hip flexors, back and abs. The control needed to execute a smooth descent and ascent requires inner and outer thigh muscles and lower leg muscles in the calf, on the shin and around the ankle to kick in.
3) Skater Hop
– Start stepping side-to-side.
– Increase your distance until it feels more natural to hop in order to cover the lateral distance.
– Start incorporating a “butt kicker” as you bound, trying to strike your tush with your airborne heel. (It doesn’t actually have to hit. It just needs to lift in that direction.)
– Pause in the butt-kicker before bounding to the other side. Try 30.
Why it works: Bounding is plyometric. It requires you to generate explosive power from the ground up and to control momentum during acceleration and deceleration. Freezing on one leg during the movement requires control of large and small muscles. The quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hips, and core have to coordinate. Bounding helps tendons develop and maintain springiness.
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