5 Exercises for a Simple Lower Body Workout
Your lower body is your base, and while the muscles aren’t the ones you typically check out in the mirror or get you noticed, they’re essential for an athletic physique. Also, who doesn’t want their bum to look great?
So, if you’re skipping leg days or want an easy routine to help strengthen those legs, here you go.
Ok, so it’s a full body exercise and can be done as a back exercise too, but the deadlift is a great exercise. It works the muscles in your posterior chain, which often become weak and create bad posture and is an excellent exercise to burn extra calories.
- Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart with the barbell (or dumbells etc.) in front of you on the floor. Think about pushing your hips back and sliding your hands down your thighs. Your legs should bend automatically as you move down.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, and tense your abs. Keep your head up in a neutral position and look about six feet in front of you. Ensure your back is straight and your shoulders are down and back.
- Now push through your feet and bring your hips through so you stand tall. Ensure you engage your glutes. Think of the movement as a hinge at the hips. You don’t want to squat the weight up. Make sure you don’t push through too far at the top and overextend your back.
- Slowly lower the weight, pushing your hips back and keeping the bar close to the legs.
Possibly the ultimate lower body exercise, the squat is a fundamental movement. You’re effectively just sitting down. In addition, the squat is a compound exercise, which works many muscles in one go, including most of your lower body and abs.
- Have your feet roughly hip-width apart (this is a rough guide, find what is comfortable for you), point your toes outward slightly and tense your abs.
- Push your hips and bend your knees, pushing them slightly outwards. Keep your spine in a neutral position. The best way to do this is thinking of sitting down on a chair. Squatting down onto a weight bench or box is a good starting point.
- Ideally, you want to squat down until your thighs and knees are parallel. However, some people may not have the mobility to do this.
- To stand back up, press through your feet (mainly your heels), look straight ahead and stand up tall.
Our bum muscles can be underused and weak, leading to lower back pain. To counter this, we recommend doing some hip thrusts. It’ll recruit those glutes and, if done progressively, can help sculpt an excellent posterior.
- Using a bench, start seated and with your upper back resting against the edge of a bench. Your knees should be bent and feet just wider than hip-width apart.
- If using a bar, place it across your hips using your arms to hold it in place. Don’t use your arms to lift the weight. You don’t have to use weight. If you’re unfamiliar with the exercise, start with your body weight.
- Now squeeze your bum muscles (glutes) and press your hips and the bar upwards. Your hips should be in line with your knees and shoulders. You should keep your chin tucked and your core strong, don’t arch your lower back.
- Lower back to where you started and repeat.
The hamstrings are like the biceps of your legs but are often neglected. Also, working your hamstrings and glutes can help create that defined shape most people want on their rear.
If using a hamstring curl machine, refer to the instructions, as some machines differ. If you don’t have access to a machine, see the below instructions.
- Lie flat on the floor with your face down and arms folded in front of you.
- Place a dumbbell between your feet.
- Tighten your core and bend your knees, lifting the dumbbell off the floor and moving your heels towards your bum.
- Carefully return to the starting position. Keep the dumbbell secure between your feet as you perform the exercise.
You want to target your calves to round off your lower body workout. These smaller muscles can sometimes be ignored but are used whenever you walk, run, jump etc.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Stand tall, with your back straight, core engaged and shoulders back and down.
- Slowly raise your heels off the floor. Keep your knees extended, but do not lock them. Hold at the top for a second. You should be right on your toes.
- Lower back to the start and repeat.
- Note you can also perform this using a step for a greater range of motion. Also, you can use weights to add difficulty and create a progressive overload.
There you have it, five exercises for a simple lower body routine. Perform each exercise 3 times, aiming for 12 repetitions in each set. Try to progressively overload to improve your strength, adding more reps or more weight as you start to find the exercises easier progressively. If you’re unsure how to perform an exercise, we’d recommend consulting with a personal trainer.