Lower body strength is very important not just for shapely legs or muscle symmetry, but for reduced risk of injury, efficient fat burning, and overall total body strength. Your leg muscles are among the largest in your body, and helping them grow will facilitate more fat-burning and a speedy metabolism. In addition, strong legs help to reduce the risk of common injury and provide substantial power to the entire body, increasing your ability in sports and other athletic activities.
When considering exercise, many people will focus on doing cardio and upper-body strength training; it is a common mistake to think that cardio such as running and biking is a replacement for training legs. While these activities are great for the body and do help generate some lower body strength, more specific means of strength training for legs are what will really provide you with the best results possible.
Let’s take a look at the following routine focusing on the glutes and hamstrings. Don’t be fooled by this seemingly simple routine, it is low-impact but will really have you feeling the burn! Take it at your own pace and remember to rest when you need to. Remember that this is meant to target the glutes and hamsrings so you should really feel these two muscle working throughout the routine. This routine should be completed by executing each exercise down the list once. Try to rest as little as possible between each exercise (30-60 seconds). Descriptions of exercises and links to videos are posted below.
40 Sumo Squats
50 Single Leg Bridges (25 each leg)
50 Glute Kickbacks (25 each leg)
50 Glute Kickbacks (25 each leg)
50 Donkey Kicks (25 each leg)
100 Walking Lunges (50 each leg)
DESCRIPTIONS & VIDEOS
Sumo Squats – Start in a wide stance with feet more than shoulder width apart and toes pointing slightly outward. Keeping the weight in your heels, chest up, and knees pointed out, push the hips back and squat down as low as you can go.
Single Leg Bridges – Start by laying on the floor on your back with the feet flat and knees bent. Raise one leg up off of the ground and keep it at around a 45 degree angle. Now, execute the movement by driving through the heel, extending the hips upward and raising the glutes off of the ground. After 25 sets, repeat with the opposite foot on the ground.
Glute Kickbacks – Begin on your hands and knees on the floor or on an exercise mat; your back should be parallel to the ground. Lift one leg up straightening it out at the top and flexing the foot. Squeeze the glutes for a second at the top, then bring the leg back down without completely touching the floor. After 25 sets repeat on the other leg.
Donkey Kicks – Begin on all fours with hands and feet should width apart and back parallel to the ground. This exercise is very similar to the glute kickbacks. Lift one leg up just as with the exercise above, but this time keeping the knee bent and the foot flexed; lift the leg up until the foot is parallel to the ceiling. Remember to squeeze the abs. Then lower back down to the starting position. After 25 sets repeat on the opposite leg.
Walking Lunges – Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and hands on hips. Step forward with one leg, bending the knee to drop the hip. Descend until the back knee just about touches the ground (be sure that the front knee does not go over the toes). Maintain an upright posture the entire time.