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Exercises Stage 3

When you’ve been doing the exercises from Stages 1 and 2 for at least six weeks, you can add these Stage 3 exercises. Remember to always do the Warmup and Cooldown as part of each exercise session.

Knee Extension (click here for animation)

By targeting the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh (which play a primary role in bending and straightening the leg), this exercise strengthens weak knees and reduces the symptoms of arthritis of the knee. It is important to do this exercise in conjunction with Exercise 10, the “knee curl,” as the muscles targeted in these two exercises-the front thigh muscles and the hamstrings-work together when you walk, stand, and climb.

  1. Put on your ankle weights.
  2. In a sturdy, armless chair, sit all the way back, so that your feet barely touch the ground; this will allow for easier movement throughout the exercise. If your chair is too low, add a rolled-up towel under your knees. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your arms should rest at your sides or on your thighs.
  3. With your toes pointing forward and your foot flexed, to a count of two slowly lift your right leg, extending your leg until your knee is straight.
  4. Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your foot back to the ground.
  5. Repeat ten times with the right leg and ten times with the left leg for one set. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of ten repetitions with each leg.
Make sure you:
  • Keep your ankle flexed throughout the move.

Knee Curl (click here for animation)

This is an excellent exercise for strengthening the muscles of the back of the upper leg, known as the hamstrings. When done in conjunction with the knee extension, it makes walking and climbing easier.

  1. Put on your ankle weights.
  2. Stand behind a sturdy chair, with feet shoulder-width apart and facing forward.
  3. Keeping your foot flexed, to a count of two slowly bend your right leg, bringing your heel up toward your buttocks.
  4. Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your foot back to the ground.
  5. Repeat ten times with your right leg and ten times with your left leg for one set. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of ten repetitions with each leg.
Make sure you:
  • Keep the thigh of the bending leg in line with the supporting leg at all times.
  • Keep the foot on the bending leg flexed throughout the move.

Pelvic Tilt (click here for animation)

This exercise improves posture and tightens the muscles in your abdomen and buttocks. Do this exercise in conjunction with the floor back extension to strengthen your midsection. (You should not have the ankle weights on during this exercise.)

  1. On the floor or on a firm mattress, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and arms at your sides, palms facing the ground.
  2. To a count of two, slowly roll your pelvis so that your hips and lower back are off the floor, while your upper back and shoulders remain in place.
  3. Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your pelvis all the way down.
  4. Repeat ten times for one set. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of ten repetitions.
Make sure you:
  • Breathe throughout the exercise.
  • Don’t lift your upper back or shoulders off the ground.

Floor Back Extension (click here for animation)

If you suffer from lower back pain, weak abdominal muscles may be to blame. The floor back extension, done in conjunction with the pelvic tilt, will strengthen these muscles and ease back pain.

  1. Lie on the floor facedown, with two pillows under your hips. Extend your arms straight overhead on the floor.
  2. To a count of two, slowly lift your right arm and left leg off the floor, keeping them at the same level.
  3. Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your arm and leg back to the ground.
  4. Repeat ten times for one set, and then switch to left arm with right leg for another ten repetitions.
  5. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of ten repetitions.
Make sure you:
  • Keep your head, neck, and back in a straight line.
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