Here’s a little secret: leg-lifts and donkey-kicks aren’t the only exercises that you need to do for a stronger, fitter and leaner lower body. These exercises don’t have much of an impact on glutes and hamstrings, so your extreme donkey kicks are nothing more than a warm-up drill. The good news is that there are plenty of other exercises (presented later on) that can get your behind buzzing with that right kind of pain in no time.
You see, our bodies are unbelievably good at adapting. Our lower body moves and supports the entire body weight. The bones, muscle and tendons have adapted to build enough strength we need to support ourselves.
But as we try to walk, run and climb after a long day of sitting down at the office, the decline in strength is palpable. That’s because we just aren’t moving as often as needed to keep our bodies performing optimally. We run the risk of losing mobility by neglecting the lower body. By sitting all day, we make our glutes practically useless. Then we drive home and aren’t using leg muscles much doing that either.
The only way to improve the strength of our lower body, and maintain its shape and leanness, is with progressive overload. It will take more than just the occasional lunge to get your lower-body back in shape. It’s time to get into a workout routine that is more than just a pattern of lunge-squat- rinse-n-repeat!
It is essential to progressively challenge the lower body with new exercises and add strength training to the mix. This helps stimulate improvement in strength, shape and muscle tone. This combo of added resistance and muscular tension is the best possible way of improving your lower half. With that in mind, we present these five powerful exercises that will work your backside to perfection. Do them at least twice a week, complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps for that oh-so-good pain in the lower body. Don’t forget to ask your doctor beforehand!
1. Landmine Squats
If you need one catchall lower-body exercise that works all the muscles, this is it! The landmine squat targets the adductors, hamstrings, quads, and glutes as well. It involves holding the weight in a lower position that lets you shift your weight back while maintaining a proper posture. This means less stress on your lower back and more on the legs. It’s hard to find an exercise that works well below the knees. This one is excellent.
- Take the bar and place one end in the landmine holder. You can also use a corner of the wall to do this.
- Add weights to the other end if you can.
- Now, grab the open end of the bar with an underhand grip, making sure your arms are straight.
- Keep your feet apart, in line with your shoulders, toes slightly pointing out.
- Start moving, essentially bending the knees and sitting back.
- Keep your posture tall and heels firmly to the ground.
- Drive back through heels to the starting position.
- For beginners, 3 sets of 12 reps should be good enough.
2. The Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlifts
If you are having trouble with balance and strength, then this single-led dead-lift should fix that. This exercise targets hamstrings and glutes specifically, building a better backside as you repeat this exercise regularly. The knee bends very minimally during this version of dead-lift, so the stress is kept off the knees and the posterior chain of muscles that really matter. If you have regular knee pain and are looking for moves that can help strengthen the lower body without exacerbating this pain, this is the exercise for you.
- Stand tall with correct posture, with the kettlebell in one hand.
- Soften the knee of the down leg.
- Reach back with that same leg. Go long and fall forward chest first.
- So, for example, if you are starting with the left leg at the back, lean your left arm forward with the kettlebell in hand.
- There should be a straight line, head to heel.
- Return to starting position and squeeze your glutes. Feel the burn!
- We recommend starting with 3 sides of 8 reps, each side.
3. Leg Curls
The leg curl may sound simple enough, but this exercise is a killer for the backside – especially the glutes and hamstrings. It’s also great for those who want to avoid putting any stress on the knees. But rest assured these leg curls will make you sore in the butt!
Leg Curl – Type 1 – If it’s your first time!
- Lie down on your back. Put your heels on the exercise ball.
- Make sure your hips are on the floor. This is your starting position.
- Next, curl the ball inside towards the hips using your heels.
- Lift hips as if to accommodate the ball, making a straight line through shoulders to knees.
- Keep the tummy braced and toes up.
- Next, extend legs (as far as they can go), keeping the hips high.
- Once you can go no further, drop hips and repeat.
- We recommend 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps for beginners.
Leg Curl – Type 2 – If you’ve been curling before!
- Lie back, legs straight and your heels firmly on the ball.
- Keeping the stomach pulled in, slowly lift your hips off the floor.
- Simultaneously curl the ball in towards hips.
- When you achieve the top position, your body will form a straight line through knees, hips, and shoulders. Keep your hips and stomach pulled in and braced as you return to start position.
- Build it up with 3 sets of 10 reps each at the start.
4. Split-Squats 1.5 Reps
If you want a no-nonsense, lean, mean strength training session that promises to rain hell on your glutes, it’s time to do the split squat 1.5! Tension is the game, and lower body muscle mass is the glory of it all. This exercise challenges the entire lower body while also engaging the core. And when you add that extra push of 1.5 rep, the tension can reach all the down to your legs. So, be ready for some strong, good looking legs!
- Your starting position is a long split-stance with front foot flat and bearing weight, and the back heel in the air as back toes are firmly planted.
- Start moving… bend front and back knees as you drop the back knee down to the floor.
- Maintain the 90-degree angle with front and back leg.
- Majority of the weight should be on the front leg as mentioned earlier.
- Now, slowly come back up half, and then go back down, then finally come all the way up back to the starting position.
- Now that’s rep 1.
- If this exercise isn’t challenging enough, make the exercise tougher by adding a kettlebell.
- Do at least 2 sets with 6 to 8 reps for each side.
5. Lateral Lunges
Lunges are amazing for a number of reasons. These are great at building strong glutes and the perfect shape. Lunges burn calories and keep the heart pumping. This lateral lunge is a favorite because it has you moving from side-to-side, preventing possible injury. It works the adductors, i.e., the inner thighs very well, and that’s a trouble spot for many of us.
- Stand tall, feet together.
- Now step about 3 feet to one side with the left foot.
- As the foot hits the floor, sit into your hip and slightly lean forward without compromising on your posture.
- Stop when your hip, knee, and toe fall into a straight line.
- Stay in the position.
- Then come back as you feel the weight in the hip.
- Push on the heel to get back to that starting position.
- 3 sets of 8 reps on each side should be good enough.
These 5 Exercises Are A Great Place to Start!
No one’s born with a beautiful butt and an hourglass figure. Believe it or not, a great body is a result of hard work and dedication through diet and exercise. Yes, some people opt for the surgical route, while many others prefer CoolSculpting inner thighs to achieve a slimmer silhouette, but even these options are available to those who already are reasonably healthy and fit.
Strong legs and buttocks not only make your body look proportionate but also make it easier to carry out everyday tasks without pain and mobility issues. So, shed the lower body fat, get fit, and get healthy with these effective lower body workouts.