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The Most Effective Lower-Body Exercises, According to 2 Trainers

by Jordan Smith, NASM-CPT - November 18, 2021

 If you work out, you know that you should never skip leg day. But the moves you do during leg day can make a difference between building both strength and stability and just being another move you've got on your list. 

"Certain leg workouts are great for lower body conditioning, unilateral strength, coordination, and improved performance," Haley Shaw, NASM-CPT, wellness specialist and public speaker for her company, Amp Up Fitness, tells Lively.

Read on to see why these aren't your average squats.  

What is the best lower-body workout? 

"I'm a big fan of lower-body exercises," Shaw says. Even better: If done consistently and correctly, these exercise moves can deliver impressive results (hello, strong glutes and legs!) for anyone who incorporates them into their workout routine, Shaw says.

You should focus on moves that work all muscles in your legs, plus target your glutes, hips and even your lower back. You'll also want to incorporate leg exercises that help with stability and mobility. 

 

What are the Best Lower-Body Exercises?

Below are four exercises that will help you build strength and stability in your legs and glutes, plus pack an extra punch. Add these lower-body exercises into your leg-day routine. All moves are demonstrated by Sophie Rambaud, NASM-CPT.

best lower body exercises

Reverse Lunge

Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: Reverse lunges are an awesome exercise to define and strengthen the muscles of the lower body. You can target hips, glutes, and thighs all in one motion. When reverse lunges start to get too easy, add weight to make the exercise more challenging, says Shaw.

best lower body exercises

Sumo Squat

Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: Sumo squats activate the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, calves and more. Plus, since you use a wide-leg stance, they work the inner thighs.

 

best lower body exercises

curtsey lunge 

Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: The curtsey lunge helps build both strength and stability. The move directly targets the gluteus medius, which is key for stability, and often overlooked in other moves.

best lower body exercises

single-leg romanian deadlift

Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: This move is unilateral, meaning you complete it on just one side of your body at a time. It can help you identify any weaknesses in your body you may not notice when doing full-body exercises and help you learn what needs to be strengthened to help reduce your risk of injury. Plus, it will increase hamstring and glute strength. 

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