A full lower body workout is one of the most requested things I get, so it only felt right to include this as a last hurrah this week in our Stronger, Healthier You Series!
This is a great sequence to target the whole lower body. It’ll make you feel stronger, more defined, and yes, probably sore tomorrow, haha 😉 But it’s worth it, I promise!
Note: This is broken into 3 circuits. You should do each circuit 1-4x, and each exercise in the circuit for 10-12 reps. If you do 3-4 sets of each circuit, the whole workout will take you 30-ish minutes, more or less depending on your level of fitness. I suggest 3-4 sets of each circuit, but this is challenging! One is totally enough so if 1 set of each is all you can do, THAT IS ENOUGH.
1. Squats, 10-12x
From standing, bring the feet a bit wider than the hips (though the width and depth of your squat will largely depend on your range of motion and individual anatomy).
In general, when you lower your hips, your knees should face the same direction as the toes, your thighs should be parallel to the ground, the weight should be in your heels, chest should be lifted, gaze forward, and core engaged. If you feel this in your knees, reset your stance and try again. It may take a few tries to get the exact alignment right for YOUR body. You should feel this mostly in the glutes, a bit in the hamstrings, and some in the quads. 2. Deadlifts, 10-12x
Begin standing with the feet hip width apart with the core engaged and the palms facing your thighs.
Note: do not over tuck the butt here! You do NOT want to scoop the butt underneath you. Keep your hips naturally aligned under your shoulders.
Hinging from the hip crease with a slight bend in the knees, lower your chest to be parallel to the ground with the hands staying close to the shins.
Press strongly through your heels to lift back up to the starting position (again, without over tucking the butt!). You should feel this mainly in the glutes and hamstrings, but the back is working too, so if you feel mild tension in the back, that’s normal as long as it’s not painful.
3. Squat Jumps, 10-12x
Starting from a comfortable squat with the feet a bit wider than the shoulders, make sure the hips are back, the back is neutral, belly is in, and the knees line up with the toes.On an exhale, jump straight up. On your landing, land back in the same starting squat you began in.
1. Plie Squats, 10-12x
Start standing with the feet wide and toes turned out with a single weight in your hands.
Bend the knees deeply so they track over the toes. Make sure the knees don’t cave in towards the center. If they do, don’t squat as low. Engage the outer glutes to the hips stay open and the knees stay facing the same direction as the toes even as you lower.
2. Forward Lunges, 10-12x per side
Start standing with the feet hip width apart and one weight in each hand. Keep the chest lifted but the core engaged.
Maintaining this same form in the upper body, take a long step forward so the front knee lines up with the front toes. It should NOT extend past them.
Push off the front foot to return to your starting position. Repeat 10-12x per side.
3. Jumping Lunges, x10 per side (20 total)
Starting in a lunge with both knees bent to 90 degrees, make sure the front knee is pointing in the same direction as the toes. Also be sure not to extend the knee past the toes.On an exhale, jump straight up as explosively as you can. Land back in the same starting position you began in.
Note: these will probably feel a little wobbly at first. You’ll probably notice that you land more to one side than in the center and that you’re jumping a little all over the place when you first start trying these. That’s okay! Your stability will improve and you’ll be able to control your movement much easier with time.
1. Single Leg Deadlifts, 10-12x per side
Honestly, no lower body workout is compete without these! …in my humble opinion 😉 Stand on one leg with your weight in the hand of the same side as the grounded leg. Engage the core. The opposite hand can stay on the hip or extend out towards the side for more balance.
Hinging from the hip crease with a slight bend in the knees, lower your chest to be parallel to the ground with the hand staying close to the shin.
Press strongly through your heel to lift back up to the starting position (again, without over tucking the butt!). You should feel this mainly in the glutes and hamstrings, but the back is working too, so if you feel mild tension in the back, that’s normal as long as it’s not painful.
2. Single Leg Bridge Pulses, 10-12x per side
Starting in a low bridge with one foot on the ground a few inches in front of the hips, extend the opposite leg straight up. Keep the core engaged and the chin tucked slightly so the neck is neutral.
Press firmly into the HEEL of the grounded foot to lift the hips off the floor 6-8 inches. You are NOT trying to lift the hips way up, nor do you want to bow the chest up. The chest and ribs should stay relatively low. The majority of the effort should be focused on the glutes.
3. Jumping Jacks, 25x
Honestly, jumping jacks are one of those classic moves we all are familiar with. The tips I have for you here are to simply make sure you’re keeping a pace that allows you to maintain control of your body. You’re not here to throw your weight around. Even though it’s jumping and ALL your limbs are moving, you still need to move with control.
Over to you! Give this lower body workout a try and let me know how it goes!