By: Haley Shaw
Haley Shaw is a wellness specialist and public speaker for her company, Amp Up Fitness. Here, she writes about her favorite lower body workouts for men and women.
I’m a big fan of lower body exercises. They’re great for lower body conditioning, unilateral strength, coordination, and improved performance. Even better: If done consistently and correctly, these exercise moves can deliver impressive results (hello, toned glutes and strong legs!) for anyone who incorporates them into their workout routine.
Here are 5 of my favorite lower body exercises.
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.
Reverse lunges are a great option for exercisers who have experienced knee discomfort since they place emphasis on the glutes and provide dynamic movement.
Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: The leg press exercise enables you to focus on your major leg muscles, adding size to your legs. It doesn’t require you to use your stabilizer muscles since this move is done on a machine, which allows you to add more weight in record time.
Leg presses are a sufficient alternative to squats if you have physical limitations (i.e. flexibility issues) that prevent you from using proper squat form.
Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: Because you get to lay down – just kidding! Hip raises have numerous variations. From the classic “thrust” (raising hips as high as possible off the ground) to hip raise with knee abductions (pushing knees out to the sides), single leg, feet wide, narrow, or “butterfly” style. This hinging movement utilizes hip flexion and is key for creating toned glutes for both men and women.
Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: Step-ups are a great unilateral leg exercise to improve leg symmetry, core stability, and utilizes your hips to tighten your glutes. This can be helpful if you experience knee or back problems.
Why This Lower Body Exercise Is Awesome: This move builds some serious power and will definitely elevate your heart rate. It’s a low-impact plyometric exercise that emphasizes your glutes, abs, and biceps.