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Legs and Glutes: How to Strengthen Your Lower Body

Tighten your backside with these lower body exercies.
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Exercises to get a shapely backside.

It’s a common problem for a lot of men – a toned, overworked upper body with broad shoulders which taper down to underdeveloped legs. Strengthening your lower body, which includes your gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, can help alleviate knee and back pain and overall balance to injury prevention. When working the lower body, it is important to understand that you are dealing with much larger and stronger muscles than your upper body and it will take a significantly larger effort to fatigue these muscles.

The most common and most effective exercises for your lower body are also ones that can be performed without the use of machines and use your own body weight or dumbbells for added tension. These include variations of squats, lunges, and calf raises. Leg curls, extensions, and presses are exercises which are simple to execute and strengthen the lower body but require access to machines.

Try this routine to jumpstart your lower body training and build a tighter rear and stronger legs. This routine is meant to be completed as a circuit, performing each exercise 12 – 15 reps with no rest period between, followed by 90 seconds of jumping rope for a total of three sets. You will need a step, a set of dumbbells, and a skipping rope.

1.)    King Squats – Stand straight, legs shoulder width apart, arms on your waist. Position the step roughly two feet behind you. Hyperextend your left leg, and position your toe onto the step. Balancing on your right leg, bend into a squat. Lower your glutes until your thigh is parallel to the floor, being careful not to extend your knee past your toes.  Perform your full set on your right leg, and then switch sides.

2.)    Bridge - Lay supine, or on your back, with your knees bent and arms to your sides, palms facing down. Press your pelvis upwards, tightening your abdominals until you create a straight line from your chest to your knees. At the height of the movement, squeeze and contract your glutes and pulse for 3 – 5 seconds. Lower.

3.)    Backward Lunge Stand straight, arms bent with your hands on your waist. Step back with one leg and lower yourself towards the ground, carefully keeping your bending knee in line with your toes. Do not touch the ground. Repeat by alternating legs.

4.)    Deadlift – Stand straight, legs slightly closer together than shoulder width with an overhand grip on the dumbbells which should be touching your thighs. Slowly and controlled, lower your shoulders keeping your back straight until your hands reach your knees. At this point, bend your knees keeping them behind your toes and your glutes lower than your chest. The dumbbells should at this point be close to the floor. To come up, straighten your legs until your hands reach your knees then straighten your back to standing position. It is important to always keep your back straight and not to curve it during a deadlift.

5.)    Calf Raises – Begin by standing on a step, with just your toes touching the surface and your heels hanging off the step. Slowly lower your heels until you cannot hold any longer, and raise back up onto your toes.

 


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