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  • Simple leg strengthening exercises; standing and using a chair

    Posted by Dagmar on September 24, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    A member of our forum kindly asked me to share what I do to help strengthen my leg muscles. These are a few of my favorites; they are easy, can be done at home and at any time.

    Begin standing with a sturdy chair directly behind you (for a safe emergency landing). Position your walker or rollator in front of you – – locked in place.

    1. Air squats: lightly hold onto the rollator handles and bend knees so you do a mini-squat, return to a stand. Try to do 10 (if these are difficult, read this for motivation and tips ). Work up to doing 10 three or four times spread throughout the day. Work up to ‘Chair Squats’ – – actually touching your bottom to the chair behind you every time you squat.
    2. Ice skating: widen your stance so that feet are as wide as, or slightly wider than the legs of your rollator. With a firm grip on the handles, bend both knees, lean shoulder slightly forward. Then shift your weight to the left side putting weight on left foot and leg. Keeping knees bent, shift weight to the right. Repeat; shifting left, right, left and so on. The idea is to imitate the movements of an ice-skater. The movement is slow, methodical and controlled.

    Sit on the chair. Use good posture, with hands holding the chair or by your sides.

    1. Extend left leg to fully straight. Return foot to the floor. 10 with left leg. 10 with right leg.
    2. Extend left leg (hold 2 counts) bend, but keep knee lifted and pull lower leg toward chair without touching down. Repeat 10 times on left side. 10 on right side.

    Stand with hands firmly gripping handlebars.

    1. 10 slow heel lifts. Work up to holding for a 2-count at the top of the heel lift.

    Let me know if you have questions, how these worked for you or, if you want other exercise suggestions.

    Dagmar replied 4 years, 9 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Diana Belland

    October 14, 2019 at 9:58 am


    Thank you so much for sharing your leg strengthening exercises.  I have been doing air squats for awhile (ever since reading your column post, “Be Willing to Do Just One,” and I am going to start today with the “ice skating,” chair leg lifts and heel lifts.   I’m still not able to do chair squats but I do think that doing air squats twice a day has helped me maintain strength with walking (with a rollator) and with getting up from a seated position.

  • Dagmar

    October 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Hurrah Diana! I am so happy you found the tips helpful and that you are feeling and seeing results!

    I hope these become your ‘daily habit’ and are all part of your plan to “live well while living with ALS.” 🙂

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