Guys, November is here! Which means, Thanksgiving turkey, ham, greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes….Ok, I’ll stop. But y’all get the where I’m going with this, right? I’m dreaming of a good sweet potatoes pie dressed with some rich, whipped cream on top as we speak. So it’s obvious that I have a serious love for food, but I also want to stay (well, get) in shape before my birthday. Since been doing a pretty decent job at growing my glutes, I felt like it’d only be fitting to share my favorite lower body workout to help keep everything tight and right during the holiday season.
When you think of lower body workouts you think of glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, lower back and abdomen. These are the muscles targeted by the exercises I want to share with you guys. The good thing is, you can do them with or without weights and using different equipment at home or the gym. Working out is all about working around your schedule and lifestyle. I know where are times I can’t make it to the gym. Then there are the items where I just simply don’t have enough time! The most important takeaway from this post will be to share exercises that I have used myself that effectively target those areas a typical lower body workout get without needing to spend tons of time in the gym
Let the Fun Begin!
1. Dead Lifts
Dead Lifts are a great exercise for you body and should definitely be added to your lower body workout. They do look a little intimidating in the beginning, but the more you do them the less frightful they are. When I started doing them, I only used the barbell (which weights approximately 45lbs) to ensure I had the correct form and felt comfortable. This exercise actually works your entire body and is considered a compound exercise (a good time SAVER!), but it’s very good for you glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Did you know its even good for your posture? Or, did you know they engage your glutes more than squats do?
But Vera, I thought you said exercises you’re sharing don’t need to be done at the gym? Linda, listennn. You don’t have to have access to a gym or a barbell to do these. You can do them at home, using kettle bells, dumbbells, your first born child or any other weights to preform this exercise. The one thing I must say is this. When you’re starting out, seek guidance from a professional trainer in terms of your body positioning and technique. It also helps to record yourself doing your workouts to so you can actually see yourself and critique how you’re doing. There’s all the bonus of being able to track your progress if you’re looking to build more strength.
In my lower body workout, I add this to my routine and do roughly 3 sets of 6-12 reps and I use roughly 70% or my 1RM. Click here to learn more about finding your 1RM.
2. Hip Thrusts
Hip Thrusts are my absolute favorite exercise! They rank pretty high in the glute activation, even higher than squats. You’ll work the gluteus maximus, medius, quadriceps, and hamstrings. You can use a barbell for weight and even use a resistance band above your knees to work the gluteus medius more. I really enjoy how creative you can get with this exercise. Just like with deadlifts, I started off doing them with jut my body weight, then the barbell alone. Once I felt more comfortable, I added more weight to my reps. When I tell you this exercise really works your behind….Geese.
You can do it using a bench and barbell, the smiths machine or get resourceful at home and use your couch, a chair or anything. When I do these, I do 3 sets of 10 reps.
3. Donkey Kicks (Kick Backs)
I know I probably sound like a broken record right about now, but I love donkey kicks too! This exercise works the gluteus Maximus and medius. Just like the other exercise I’ve shared, it’s a very affective one to add to your lower body workout. You can customize this to your liking and either use the smith machine, cables, or ankle weights to intensify things.
For this exercise I do 3 sets of 12 reps.
4. Cable Leg Lifts
…Since we were on the topic of the cable machine. LOL. In addition to the donkey kicks, you can also do cable leg lifts in your lower body workout. You can engage so many muscles using the cable machine, but for my lower body I especially love to side leg lifts to work my gluteus medius, hip abductors, and inner thighs. I think the biggest tip for this exercise is to check your posture and control your legs with slow, steady motions.
Cable leg lifts are a great alternative to using hip abductor machine that has your body doing unnatural movements that you wouldn’t normally do. You can add as much weight to this exercise as you’d like and just like the donkey kicks, you can also use your ankle weights for this if you prefer to do this at home.
5. Cable Pull Through
Cable Pull Throughs are a great alternative to doing traditional squats. They really target your gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and lower back. This is also a great exercise to help you with technique before you start doing deadlifts. This exercise will help you learn to properly bend at your hips instead of your spine. Since its done at the cable machine, you can use as much or as little weight as you prefer. But what if you don’t have a cable machine? Don’t worry! You can use resistant bands as well. Just attach them to something and get to pulling-properly.
Other good alternatives to the cable pulls are kettle bell swings. They require the same movements and you can still adjust the weights as well. The benefit to doing the kettle bell swings is that you can do those at home on those days when you don’t feel like actually going to the gym.
*A moment of truth: I was a bit nervous about recording myself in the gym while doing these exercises. So what I decided was to share some of the videos I use to help guide me when doing these in my lower body workout. The good thing is you can also see how your posture should be and maybe get a few more tips from other people.*
I hope you’ve found this post both inspiring and educational. If you did, please share it with your friends and family or anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Be sure to enter your email to keep up with my fitness journey and pick up additional tips and some freebies along the way.