The upper leg area above the knee is made up of the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The gluteus maximus and gluteus medius (butt) are part of the posterior chain along with the hamstrings, soleus, and gastrocnemius in the lower body. Squats, deadlifts, and lunges are the frame changing exercises we'll become familiar with today.
Squatting is one of the best ways of building and shaping the lower body. There are different variations of the squat such as the hack squat and front squat, as well as the exercises we'll discuss today; body weight squats and back squats. It is perfectly fine for a beginner to start with body weight squats.
Start the exercise by standing shoulder width apart. Breathe in before squatting down; breathe out on the way up. Be sure to keep the weight on your heels throughout the movement and keep the core tight. Don't allow your knees to go over your toes. Do 3 to 4 sets of 8-12 reps. Rest as much as needed to complete the following set with good form.
Back squats can be done with a 45lbs-55lbs bar at most fitness centers or gyms. Add weight to the bar if needed. Start the exercise by standing under the bar. Place the bar on the upper back area near the traps in a comfortable position. Stand shoulder with apart and start squatting!
The deadlift is not only an excellent lower body exercise, but is also a great total body exercise. Start by walking up to the bar with the bar as close to your shins as possible. Bend over and grab the bar without bending your legs, then bend your knees until shins touch the bar. Lift the chest and straighten the back, breathe in, stand up with the weight and repeat for 8-12 reps and 3 to 4 sets.
Lunges are a really good finishing exercise to do toward the end of your lower body workouts. Do 3 to 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions each leg after doing squats and deadlifts. Today we'll go over walking lunges. Start by taking an exaggerated step forward with the front leg while using the ball of the back foot for balance. Keep the back and shoulders straight with the chest up high. Bend at the knee and drop the hips straight down. Don’t allow the knees to go over the toes at any point throughout the movement. Put weight on the front leg and press upward, then bring the back leg forward and repeat.
As your strength and endurance increases, so should exercises and the weight used during the exercises. This way the body keeps changing and getting better all the time. The exercises discussed should be more than enough to help shape and ton your total body and more specifically legs and glutes. Warm up properly and perform these exercises on a consistent basis during the fall and winter, and turn heads on beach trips and vacations in the spring and summer! Until next time, stay fit my friends.