How To Do Leg Swings Properly

If you are a fan of cardio then you are going to love today’s feature; the leg swings.

This exercise is a dynamic movement that help to prepare the legs and hip flexors for movements like maybe your runs or jogs.

Yes! Your search for a nice warm up exercise for your cardio workouts has come to a blessed end. Best of all, this is one of the easiest exercises to do so it will be as easy as pie to squeeze it in before you get to jogging or before doing more strength based lower body workouts. I know you are excited.

We will be covering the front to back leg swing. You can also use the side-to-side variation if you would like; simply switch the movement of the legs to a side-to-side motion. Here is how you can do it, the right way;

  • Requirements: No equipment required.
  • Start in a standing position with proper posture. Place your right hand on the chair, wall or whatever else you are using to keep your balance.
  • Engage your core and kick your left leg forward from your hip to the level of the base of the stomach. Once at the prime of the kick, allow the foot to return to the ground passing your standing leg.
  • Repeat this cycle for reps. Do 20-30 reps of this or 30 seconds of this on either leg.
  • Quick tip: Be sure to minimize your upper body movement as much as possible. Also have keep your hip squared off to avoid hip rotation. Do this to achieve perfect form.

Pretty simple right? Now that you know how to do it, let us see what muscles will get warmed up by this exercise. If you are more of a visual learner, we got you covered.

Check out this video to understand how to do it in perfect form.( It is literally less than a minute long)

WHAT MUSCLES DO LEG SWINGS WORK?

Again, I will emphasize that this is not a strength-based exercise by any sense of the word. Instead, this is a basic warm up exercise that works the quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors.

QUADRICEPS

The quadriceps or quadriceps femoris is a hip flexor and knee extensor. It comprises 4 individual muscles; the rectus femoris and 3 vastus muscles.

Collectively they form the main bulk of your thigh making them one of the strongest muscles in the human body. Do a couple of leg swings and your quads will be ready and fired up for a nice workout.

HAMSTRINGS

Hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles; semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris, that primarily help flex the knee. They make up most of the posterior thigh.

They help in mobility functions such as walking.

HIP FLEXORS

The hip flexor muscle, as you would guess, is responsible for flexing the hip i.e., bringing the knee towards the core. Yes, every step you take relies on these bad boys.

Leg swings get blood pumping into your hip flexors preparing them for more tedious exercises.

BENEFITS OF LEG SWINGS

IMPROVE JOINT MOBILITY

Leg swings really get blood pumping and your muscles activated and primed for a workout. This increased flow of blood to the joint capsule may help improve mobility within that area.

A big range of motion in the leg swing also helps the hips to ‘open’. This is great if you feel tightness in your hips or clanky joints.

EASE OF ACCESS

One of the main factors that discourage people from getting into workouts is the perceived difficulty of the workout exercise. Leg swings got that covered; they are as easy as they come.

Even greater than that is the need for equipment for a particular exercise that gets people fleeing from it. Guess what? You need literally no equipment to do this exercise. It’s hard to beat that.

NECESSARY EVIL

If you have been doing tough workout exercises without doing a warm up, you have been doing it all wrong. Warm-ups are necessary to warm up your target muscles and loosen up tight joints.

And when it comes to warm-up exercises, it does not get much easier than the leg swings.

INJURY PREVENTION

Warm-ups generally help open up the joints and prime the muscles for exercise and leg swings are no exception.

This helps in preventing injuries caused when the muscles are put under pressure before being primed.

ALTERNATIVES TO LEG SWINGS

Here are some excellent alternatives to the leg swings that still prime the same muscles.

SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT

If you want to add a little more difficulty to your warm up for leg day, then this might be a great alternative for you. Here is how you do it;

  • Stand with your feet together in an upright position.
  • Lift your left leg slightly and extend it back as you shift your body weight onto your right foot. As your left foot reaches back, hinge forward from your hips until your body forms a T shape. Do not worry when your right knee bends, it is only natural.
  • Reach your arms straight forward as you hinge forward with your torso to help keep balance. Return to the starting position. Repeat this on the other side as well.
  • Do as many reps as you like, so long as it gets your blood pumping.

Remember to keep your spine neutral as you bend forward.

DONKEY KICK

This warm up is almost as easy as the leg swings. Here is how it is done;

  • Get to a kneeling position and then get down on your hands such that your palms rest on the ground. Have your hands and knees about hip-width apart.
  • Tighten your core and lift your right leg, keeping the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Then squeeze your glutes and straighten your right leg back to about the same plane as your back.
  • Gradually return to the starting position. Repeat this cycle for the other leg.

Want more complexity? You can find loads more alternatives here.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING LEG SWINGS

The leg swings are as easy as exercises get. That being said, there still are some common mistakes that you should avoid.

NOT BREATHING

Yes, I know you cannot stop breathing altogether but people tend to forget to do this during this exercise.

It’s common for people to hold their breaths for long periods of time during the leg swings which should not be the case. Instead, be sure to maintain a steady and deep breathing pattern.

OVERUSING MOMENTUM

As much as you should use built up momentum when swinging to get your blood pumping in the leg, you should not overuse it.

You should still engage your leg muscles when swinging your leg. You should think of this as a swing and not a kick.

CLOSING REMARKS

It is hard to go wrong with the leg swings as your warm up exercise of choice given the ease of the exercise.

Point is, you owe it to yourself to improve your chances of remaining injury-free by sparing a mere 3 minutes to swing your legs just before each run.

Let’s do this, for the next 20,30 days, purpose to do the leg swings just before your runs or leg workouts. Make it a part of you; your legs will thank you for it.