The quadriceps are the major muscles on the front of the thighs. They consist of the vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis and rectus femoris. The sartorius is a long strip of muscle that runs over top the quads and stops past the knee on the inner, or medial, side. This muscle is involved in actions like knee flexion, hip flexion and hip abduction. To strengthen the sartorius, perform exercises that involve these motions.
Cable Knee Raises
The cable bent-knee leg raise works the sartorius from a standing position and it involves hip and knee flexion. Hip flexion takes place when your thigh moves toward your stomach and knee flexion takes place when your heel bends backward. After fastening an ankle cuff to your right ankle and to a low setting on the machine, stand with your back to the weight stack. Steadily lift your foot off the floor and pull your leg forward. As you do this, lift your knee up until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your foot, repeat for a set of reps and switch sides.
For an added challenge, stand on an aerobic step with your nonworking leg and perform the exercise with your leg straight. By standing on the step, your leg will have clearance from the floor. Both variations also work the hip flexor muscles.
Squats involve knee and hip flexion, and they work the glutes and hamstrings as well as the sartorius. While standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, lower yourself down by bending your knees. Once your thigh are parallel to the floor, stand back up and repeat. Keep your core tight and back straight throughout. To increase the resistance, support a barbell across the top of your shoulders or hold dumbbells in your hands.
Walking lunges work the sartorius and leg muscles in similar fashion to squats, but with a different movement pattern. While standing with your feet together and hands on your hips, take a long step forward with your right foot and lower your body down by bending your knees. Once your right thigh is parallel to the floor and left knee is 1 inch above the floor, stand up and lunge forward with your left foot. Alternate each leg for a set of repetitions. To increase the resistance, hold dumbbells at your sides or a medicine ball at your chest.
Standing abduction targets the sartorius, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus which are found in the butt. While standing on your left foot, extend your right leg slightly in front of your body, and then lift it laterally in the air to your right side. Slowly lower it back down, repeat for a set of reps and switch sides. To increase the resistance, wear ankle weights.
Roman Chair Sit-ups
A Roman chair is a training tool used to work the lower back. By lying face-up on the machine and performing sit-ups, you will work your sartorius muscles. Sit on the upper padded support and hook your feet under the lower padded support. Either cross your arms over your chest or place your hands on the sides of your head and bend backward until your torso is parallel to the floor. Rise up to a seated position and repeat. This exercise also works the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
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