I. Love. Leg Day. It is my absolute favourite. If I could train legs everyday I would. I want everyone to love to train legs like I do, so we’ve got to start somewhere!
Today I am sharing with you my Top 6 Lower Body Exercises that are key to building a solid foundation in the legs, butt, core, and lower back. I recommend getting really comfortable with these exercises before moving on to heavier or more complicated lifts. A few of these exercises also add an element of balance, which most of us can use more of!
They’re in no particular order, and I have my clients complete these as a circuit (so one set of each one all the way through, then rest and repeat). Aim for 8-12 reps of each one. If you can easily complete more than 12 reps with good form to the end, then it is time to add some extra resistance.
Safety First! If you feel pain during any of these movements, please consult a certified fitness professional or physiotherapist for an assessment.
The most important thing to remember here is that your hips move backwards as you bend your knees. See how my knees don’t go past my toes and my heels are always glued to the floor? The second thing to look at is my lower back and core. My trunk is engaged and my lower back is nice and flat. I’m looking straight ahead and my chest is pointing forward, not down.
– Don’t have this much range of motion? That’s ok! Just go as low as you feel comfortable. You can even place a chair behind you so you know how far to squat down.
Keep your heels tucked in close to your butt. Don’t lift up on your toes, keep your heels planted throughout the whole movement. Slower is better on this one!
People really tend to struggle with this one. So if you are a beginner or don’t have great balance, try these reverse lunges I’m demonstrating. They get the same job done, but can be a bit easier to stay balanced.
Look at my knees. Each one is achieving a 90 Degree angle at the bottom of my lunge. I’m lunging DOWN, not FORWARD. My front heel is always planted on the floor, I’m never lifting up on my front toes.
4. Good Mornings
These are GREAT for working the range of motion in the lower back. It is also great for strengthening the core for heavier lifts. If you are new to this exercise start with just your body weight! Only do the range of motion you are comfortable with. My knees are just slightly bent, and my core is engaged. My lower back is flat, not rounded. My hips are moving back as they bend to counterbalance my upper body weight.
5. One Leg Deadlifts
A key balance exercise. Aim to keep both hips pointed toward the ground the whole time. Your hips should not be stacked over one leg. Slower is definitely better on this exercise, if you try to move too fast you’ll lose your balance. Complete a full set on one leg, then switch sides.
6. Step Ups
Watch carefully! I am pushing up with my upper leg, not my toes on the ground. My body weight is on my bent leg, which is challenging my balance as well. This is another good opportunity to slow the movement down. Try to keep your knee in a straight line with your foot, you don’t want it moving side to side as you lift yourself up.
Happy Training Everyone!
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