It’s time to get that lower body and booty in shape. The summer seems to be coming to an end faster than we are ever ready for it to but this workout will benefit far beyond bikini and shorts season. Lower body and glute strength helps with countless everyday activities such as sitting down and standing up as well as going up and down stairs. It also helps balance and stability and strong glutes will ensure a stronger lower back. Did you know glutes are actually part of your core muscles and it’s not just your abs? Well, if not you learned something awesome today that could help you a lot in the long run. pun intended or not.
So here’s the workout I put together for you to get you started. I’ve incorporated six exercises as well as a few variations based on fitness level for you to try.
- Reverse Lunges – 3 x 15/leg
- Bridge Hold or Single Leg Bridge Hold – 3 x 30 seconds each exercise or 1 min if you aren’t doing the single leg variation
- Hip Circles – 3 x 20 each direction
- Heel to Sky – 3 x 20/leg
- Romanian Deadlift – 3 x 15
- Single Leg Step Ups – 3 x 15/leg
Reverse Lunges. I used a step as my platform but you can use whatever you’d like such as a step platform or a 25 pound plate if you’re at the gym. The lunge off a higher surface will incorporate more glute action. It will be performed just like a basic lunge but you take a step back instead of forward. Always make sure your knee never crosses the plane of your toe and you’re standing with good posture. As you step back to the step, squeeze those glutes to help pull that leg back to your starting stop. You will always start each repetition with both feet on the platform or step.
Bridge Hold/Single Leg Bridge Hold. Lay on your back with your arms next to your sides. Lift your hips up as high as you can and squeeze your glutes at the top of your rep. Your body should be as straight as possible. If you want an extra challenge, lift one leg off the ground. Make sure you keep it in line with the other knee and keep your hips high. This is going to be a timed hold so you can do 30 seconds starting with two feet on the ground and then 30 seconds with each leg in the air. If single leg isn’t working for you, decrease your time or just hold your bridge with both feet on the ground.
Hip Circles. Start on all fours with your hands stacked below your shoulders and your knees stacked below your hips. The first direction of the circle, you will kick your leg back and then lift your knee up drawing a circle with it. The tighter your hips are, the harder this will feel and your circle will probably be a bit smaller. Repeat this exercise and then switch directions by bringing your knee into your chest first and then lifting your knee to draw a circle. Try to keep your body parallel with the ground as much as possible. When we feel inflexible, we tend to turn and compensate instead of working on correct range of motion within what we can actually do.
Heel to Sky. This exercise will also start on all fours. Keeping your knee at 90 degrees, lift your leg up until the bottom of your foot is facing the sky. From there you are going to pulse up and down no more than 12 inches up and down. If you want to make this more challenging, you can stick a weight behind your knee and pulse squeezing that weight to keep it in place.
Romanian Deadlift. This is the straight leg version of a deadlift. You should feel this exercise in your hamstrings as well as your glutes and you should be able to use a little bit heavier weight. I had to improvise using a fire log as my prop but you can use dumbbells or a barbell to complete this. Start with your feet a little closer than shoulder width apart. You want to make sure you are continuously keeping good posture and keeping your shoulders back giving you a nice flat back. Keeping the weight close to your body, slide the weights down close to your legs until you get to just below your knee. As the weight is moving down your leg, think about shifting your weight to your heels so you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. Once you get to your end point just below the knee, slide the weight back up keeping it close to your body and squeezing your glutes the whole way back up to your starting point.
Single Leg Step Ups. I used a step but you can use an 18″ box at the gym, a chair or a bench. Place one foot on top of the step and that foot will stay there until you switch legs. Step up with the opposite leg until the leg with the foot up is fully extended and then slowly control your leg back down to the starting point. Make sure that you are stepping back behind the step to ensure your knee is protected.
Incorporate this workout two times a week into your exercise routine and I promise you will feel results. It will take time and consistency but I know you’re up for the challenge. Time to get bootylicious for fall.