Your lower-body muscles are the biggest, and potentially the strongest ones, in your body. If you build these muscles, you will develop strength, power, and prevent potential injury of your back and hips.
These are my five favorites for making you stronger and functionally fit. Perform three sets of 10-15 repetitions each. Increase your weight when these become easier. The goal is to perform these on alternate days, two to three days a week.
Squats can be done with bodyweight or free weights in each hand, or even one or two kettlebells. From a standing position, go into a squat (as if you’re sitting in a chair), while making sure your knees do not go past your toes.
Lunges are good if you don’t have any knee issues. If you do, you should probably avoid these. You can do static lunges, where you put one leg in front of another and step back into position. From here, you will simply go up and down while thinking about lunging down and not forward. Switch legs and do the other side. With dynamic squats, you will travel either forward and back, then switch legs, or you can do lunges around the room of the gym floor.
Leg press machine is another excellent lower-body exercise that works a variety of muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The plate that you are pushing is 45 pounds. Add weight on each side of the plate when you’re ready to press more. Find a comfortable position on the machine and make sure your legs are at a 90-degree angle from the plate. Keep legs hip-distance apart and toes pointed forward.
Deadlifts are another great exercise, but if you do have back issues this might not be the best one for you. Test these out by performing with bodyweight only. Graduate to either free weights or kettlebells in one or both hands. In a standing position, with your abdominals tucked in, lean forward to the ground with straight legs. Come back up to a standing position. Repeat.
Glute machine is an excellent way to isolate your glutes one at a time. Find a comfortable weight as you lean your abdominals against the pad and grab the side bars. Push back with your heel and straighten your leg without hyperextension (leave a slight bend in the knee). Switch sides.
I hope you try these five strength-building exercises for your lower body. I personally love them and share them with my clients. If you’d like more information about personal training or small-group training, please contact me! I’d love to help you meet your fitness goals.
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