Get Ready for Lower Body Workout
Working the lower body requires a lot of
energy, but that effort is repaid with
many benefits. Energetic exercise which uses the big
muscles of the
hips speeds up your
metabolic rate long after the exercise is over. Thus a
combination of strength training
to accentuate and define muscles, and frequent
aerobic exercise to help you lose any excess fat, can dramatically improve your
MAIN LOWER BODY MUSCLE GROUPS
Hamstrings at back of
thighs; enable knees to bend and a straight leg to
Quadriceps at front of thighs; enable knees to extend and
hips to flex.
Gluteals in the buttocks; pull thighs to side, rotate the legs and help raise
the torso upright from a forward bend position.
Adductors at inner thighs; pull legs inwards.
Adductors at outer thighs; take legs outwards and rotate them inwards.
Hip flexors connect the lower spine and hip bone to top of thigh; flex the
Calf muscles at back of lower leg; enable feet to point and heels to lift.
Tibialis at front of lower leg; pulls the foot up.
Your main aim
The challenge is to lift and condition the buttocks, to create
a distinct separation between the buttocks and the back of the thigh, to improve
the shape and tone of the front of the thigh – particularly around the
to firm and shape the inner thigh.
Take time to master each exercise, and don’t expect to be proficient at them all
immediately. Once learnt correctly, they will be tools for life. Getting it
right takes practice and patience. Use a mirror to check your
alignment through all the positions of each exercise and if it doesn’t
right check the instructions again.
Training into shape
Muscles should be trained for both strength and stamina. Different
training results in different shapes. Track athletes need power and speed so
their training includes jumping, lunging, and squatting. These moves result in
finely toned, shapely buttocks and quads. Endurance runners work at a lesser
intensity for longer periods and have lean frames with comparatively small
musculature. Thus, to lose fat
you need to do endurance training, which entails
exercising at a lower intensity for longer; or to improve your shape do big,
powerful moves for a shorter time. You can adapt all these exercises by changing
the intensity and duration.
Side step squat
This exercise works all the gluteals and the muscles at the sides of the
hips and thighs. As this move is challenging but effective, take time to perfect
it. Use a chair the first time you do it to help you find the correct working
position. Take about two seconds to step out and two seconds to step in.
Stand with good posture, knees soft, feet together, left foot lifted and
prepared. Breathe easily throughout.
Step left leg wide to the side. Drop the hips down and back behind the heels
while swinging the arms forwards for balance. Keep knees in line with feet and
the chest lifted.
Step the right leg into start position, squeezing your buttocks and abs as you
stand up. Start with 8, work up to 20.
Side leg raise and squeeze
This demanding and effective exercise lifts and shapes the buttocks by working
the deepest layers of the gluteals. Repeat five times on each leg, working up to
Begin in a deep squat, arms out for balance, hips low and behind heels, knees
in line with feet, chest lifted and the back straight. Breathe easily.
Raise and rotate the left leg with the knee facing down. Pull in the arms and
squeeze the buttocks and outer thigh. Return to a deep squat.
Plie with arms
Think of strength, poise and fluidity when you do this movement. The plie has no
pause, momentum or drop and, like many dance movements, it takes a lot of effort
to perfect. Practice the leg movements first, then add in the arms when you are
ready to do so. Repeat 10 times.
Keep the back straight as you bend the knees
Breathe easily throughout
Keep the upper
body and hands free from tension
Position feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with legs gently turned out,
arms relaxed at your sides and pelvis in neutral.
Keep chest lifted and ribs in line with hips as you bend the knees and take
the arms out to the sides. Keep your heels down and your knees in line with your
Squeeze buttocks and quads hard as you straighten the legs and lift the arms
up. Keep the knees soft, abs tight, shoulders down.
Bend knees deeply, smoothly bringing the arms down and out to the sides. Then
straighten the legs, squeeze the buttocks and quads and bring the arms down to
Dance movements such as the plie require great posture, alignment, strength and
Increase the challenge of this exercise by alerting the timing and emphasis of
the movement. For example, bend down for one count and spend three counts coming
up. Try the same in reverse, or hold the position for 2-4 seconds. Use hand
weights if you wish.
Keep the back straight and the chest lifted, leaning
forwards from the hips. Both these moves require constant attention to the
alignment of knees over feet.
Squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, hips behind feet and
with all the weight on the heels. Swing the arms in front of you for balance and
Squeeze the buttocks tight and push the hips forwards as you stand up. Pull
arms to the sides of the hips. Repeat 5 times, progressing to 20.
The American Council on Exercise recently declared this to be the most effective
bottom exercise in the world! Use a chair for support if you haven’t yet
mastered this tricky position.
Stand tall with neutral pelvis, abs tight. Place the right foot just in front
of you, touching the floor. All weight should be on the rear foot.
Drop the hips backwards and bring your arms up for
balance. Your left knee
remains over the left foot. Stand up by curling the hips forward, squeezing the
buttocks and pulling the arms in. Repeat 5 times on each leg, progressing to 20.
This exercise is demanding, working the thighs, hamstrings, hips and buttocks.
Getting down and up actively, with good alignment and posture, is no easy feet.
Use a chair, for support to begin with, and watch out for the most common fault
– of allowing the knee to slide in front of the supporting foot – by looking in
a mirror. Move down and back up as cleanly as you can. Start by doing 2-4 drop
lunges, about two seconds down and two seconds up, but aim for 15-20 lunges. You
can, of course, go slower than this count, but not faster.
Swing arms out on descent
Pull in arms on the recovery
The front knee should be above the ankle and the rear knee below the hips
Take a stride forward with the left leg and place the foot flat on floor.
Balance on the ball of the rear right foot. Keep the body upright, pelvis
neutral and abs tight.
Bend knees and lower until rear knee is just off the floor. Keep back
straight. To come up, push down against the front heel and squeeze the buttocks
This works the gluteals, quads and hamstrings. Start with 10 squats and progress
to 20, about two counts down and two counts up. To add variety or intensity,
descend for one count and spend three counts coming up. Try also holding the
lower position for 2-4 seconds, or using hand weights.
Stand with good posture, feet together and knees soft. Bend the knees and drop
the hips down and back behind the heels, moving the weight to the heels. Swing
the arms for balance, keep the chest lifted and the back long.
As you stand and stretch the legs, pull arms in towards hips and squeeze
Buttock squeeze and stretch
This is a relatively easy exercise for the gluteals. Keep your face, neck and
shoulders free from the tension you are building in your gluteals. Try to
breathe easily throughout. As you squeeze, don’t lift the hips too much – the
emphasis is on the muscle contraction, not the height.
Last but not the least, maximize the effort you put into your lower body workout to see results quickly.
Work as slowly and precisely as possible to perfect a move, then alternate the
speed to keep challenging the muscles.
Dated 07 February 2013