How do I perform arm and leg lifts?

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To perform this exercise, sit on your hands and knees. Your hands should be parallel to your thighs, and underneath your shoulders. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. From this position, draw in your belly button to your spine, by tightening your stomach. Then simultaneously extend one leg, and reach forward with the opposite hand. Make sure you keep your back nice and flat, not arching or tilting to the side. Hold for a count of two, and then come back to the starting position. Alternate sides, and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
You can do opposite arm and leg lifts in two ways:

Quadruped opposite arm and leg lifts

Primary muscles worked: Anterior and medial deltoid (shoulders), gluteal muscles (buttocks), hamstrings (back of thigh), and stabilization from abdominals (stomach) and erector spinae (lower back)

Starting position: Place both hands and knees on the floor with your arms and thighs parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor. Your knees should be directly under your hips, and your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Keep your elbows soft, not locked. Your head should be in line with the spine, face toward the floor. Your back should be straight but with your natural arch in the lower back.

Action: Lift your right arm and left leg slowly off the floor and extend them straight out, so that your leg, back, and arm are roughly in one line. Slowly return to the starting position. Either repeat the exercise all on one side, then the other, or alternate sides as you go.

Tips:
  • Do not allow your abdominals to relax and your back to sag.
  • Do not lift your arm and leg excessively high.
  • Stretch as far as possible from your toes to your fingertips.
Prone opposite arm and leg lifts

Primary muscle groups worked: Gluteus maximus (buttocks), hamstrings (back of thigh), erector spinae (lower back), and possibly deltoid (shoulder) muscles

Starting position: Lie face down on the floor with both arms extended straight out on the floor over your head. Your legs should be straight. Rest your head in a comfortable position with your forehead on a towel, or with your head turned to one side.

Action: Keeping your lower chest and hips on the floor, lengthen your right arm and left leg out away from you as you slowly lift them off the floor. Hold for one count. Slowly return to the starting position. Either repeat the exercise all on one side, then the other, or alternate sides as you go.

Tip:
  • Do not lift your arm and leg so that it produces an excessive arch in the lower back.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Place both hands and knees on the floor with your arms and thighs parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor. Your knees should be directly under your hips, and your hands should be under your shoulders. Look to the floor, keeping your head in line with your spine. Keep your back straight. Lift your right arm and left leg slowly off the floor and extend them straight out so that your leg, back, and arm are roughly in one line. Slowly lower them to the starting position. After one set, switch positions-lifting your left arm and right leg.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.