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For many fitness lovers, leg day is often the least favourite of the week. But that’s often because of the misconception that you have to push your body to the point of struggling to walk the next day.
Instead, why not try a short but effective lower body workout?
David Wiener, training and nutrition specialist at Freeletics, has shared a five-minute circuit with HuffPost UK that can be added into your next gym session or practiced during spare moments of the day.
“Lower body exercises are beneficial and vital for making daily tasks, such as walking, easier on us. Performing these exercises not only improves your stability, but it is a chain reaction on the rest of your body for helping improve your strength and posture,” he says.
“Ultimately, improving your lower body workout routine will give you
lean muscle and achieve a stronger and more toned lower body, including the calves, thighs, hamstring and glutes.”
Try the “no glutes, no glory” workout today and you’ll never* be tempted to skip leg day again.
(*Well, until next week at least.)
1. Squat Jumps
This exercise is great because it’s an all over body work out, but especially good for the lower body. It can help build your muscle and enhance strength, as well as boost your cardiovascular fitness, tone your lower body, strengthen bones, boost your circulation and burn many calories.
To do one:
Start standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outwards. Always keep your back straight. Always keep hands off your body.
Lower down until your hips are below knees. Jump up so both feet leave ground and then return to the starting position before repeating.
Lunges are a great exercise to increase the muscle mass in your lower body whilst building up your strength and toning. Not only this, they also help to improve your posture, balance and range of motion. Whilst a lot of exercises put strain on your spine, lunges help give your spine a chance to relax whilst working many of the larger muscles in the lower body.
To do one:
Start standing upright, with your hands on your hips. Always keep your shoulders above the hips. Step forward with one foot Keep your front foot flat on the ground. Bend your back knee so it touches the ground below your hip Alternate lunging leg for the desired number of reps.
Much like a jumping squat, a normal squat has similar benefits but not as much cardio. Whilst this exercise will of course not burn as many calories as a jumping squat, it is still a great exercise to put your quadricep group of muscles to work. There’s a misconception that squats put too much pressure and strain on your knees, but squats will actually strengthen your knees and make them less prone to injury as you get older.
To do one:
Start standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outward. Always keep your back straight. Always keep hands off the body. Always keep weight toward your heels. Lower down until your hips sit below your knees and rise back up to the starting position
4. Split Lunges
Much like the normal lunge, split lunges are a great way to work your quads, glutes, hips and hamstrings. As they are a unilateral exercise (meaning they only train one side of your body at a time), they are proven to increase your balance and posture too. Not only this, your hip flexor muscles are most commonly tight, but performing split lunges will help you improve the mobility of these muscles.
To do one:
Start standing upright. Always keep your shoulders above the hips. Step forward with one foot. Keep your front foot flat on the ground. Bend your back knee to touch the ground below hip. Jump up to switch sides. Make sure your feet leave ground at same time.
5. Table Twists
To enhance the flexibility of your lower body and spine, table twists are simple to perform and will stretch out all the major muscle groups in your body, helping to boost flexibility and enhance range of motion.
To do one:
Start with your hands below your shoulders, heels below the knees, and hips on ground. Push up until your hips are in line with your shoulders and knees. Reach one hand up and behind you. Return to the starting position. Alternative sides
Always keep your arms straight.
Rest and repeat.
Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.