Finding the time to exercise is a challenge for everyone. Sometimes you just need a quick, straight to the point exercise routine to get through, that doesn’t sacrifice effectiveness. Here’s a great lower body workout to tackle your entire lower body in an efficient way.
For the exercises that use free weights, you should aim for a weight where you can ideally complete 10-15 reps total (or on each side for movements that work one side at a time) before exhausting the muscle. You should try to repeat this sequence three times total.
Exercise #1: Lunges
Target Muscles: Thighs and glutes
Instructions: Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides. Without sacrificing your posture, step back with one foot while lowering your knee to the ground. Your front knee should bend without that front knee going over your toes. Once your back knee barely touches the ground (but does NOT rest on the ground), step your back leg back up to standing in your starting position.
Exercise #2: Squats
Target Muscles: Thighs and butt
Instructions: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, toes pointed forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and slowly bend your knees, keeping your back straight until you reach a position where your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second before squeezing your legs and glutes to return to standing in your starting position. You should essentially feel like you are sitting down in an invisible chair (with great posture) and standing back up. Do not roll your shoulders or hunch over. Keep your head in a neutral position looking straight forward the entire time.
Exercise #3: Calf Raises
Target Muscles: Calves
Instructions: Stand on the edge of a stair with your feet about hip-width apart and the heels of your feet hanging off the edge so they are unsupported. If you can, try to keep balance as you do this exercise, but if not, grip a nearby rail or place your hand on the wall. Lower your heels as far as you can comfortably stretch them and then slowly push up on your toes until you are on your tip toes. Pause at the top and fully contract your calf muscles. Then slowly lower down again until you return to that comfortable stretch in the back of your calves and ankles.
Exercise #4: Core Extensions
Target Muscles: Abdominals
Instructions: Lie on your back and pull your knees in towards your chest as you tuck your chin. As you inhale, reach your arms behind your head as your legs extend in front of you, both at about a 45 degree angle. Hold for 3 seconds before exhaling and returning to your starting position. Repeat until you can’t hold with proper form.
Exercise #5: Bicycles
Target Muscles: Abdominals
Instructions: Lie on your back with hands behind your head, feet extended. Lift your head off the ground as well as your legs, brining one knee to meet the opposite elbow. Exhale and bring the opposite elbow to reach the other knee.
Remember to warm up before and stretch afterwords to prevent soreness. Complete this sequence 3 times, and you’ll get a great lower body workout in about 30 minutes.