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Last Updated on April 2, 2020

8 Leg And Butt Workouts To Reshape Your Lower Body

8 Leg And Butt Workouts To Reshape Your Lower Body

Having strong muscles in the butt and legs is essential for your overall health and ability to exercise efficiently. Unless we have active jobs, the threat of sitting down for hours at a time has a huge detrimental effect on these areas; muscles slack and become less defined if not used properly, circulation is dramatically reduced and so blood isn’t able to reach muscles as well as it should, cellulite can form and tone is decreased.

Working out your butt and leg muscles will not only shape and tone them, but will help towards efficiency in other exercises such as running, cycling and swimming. Here you will be taken through 8 leg and butt workouts that will help towards getting the shape and tone that you want.

If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

1. Squats

This is an absolute essential exercise if you want to target your legs and butt. It works the thighs, butt and hips as well as pulling through your core and lower back muscles. If you want a sculptured backside then squats are your best friend.

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Air-Squats
    image via rockwallrectech.com
    1. Start with feet hip-width apart, keeping your back straight with shoulders pulled back, straighten your arms out in front of you.
    2. Slowly bend your knees and push your butt out and down as though you’re about to sit down on a chair.
    3. Lower yourself so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, your knees are positioned slightly over your ankles and your head and shoulders aligned over your knees.
    4. Using your leg and butt muscles, slowly push up keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout and come back to standing position.
    5. Beginner: start off with a repetition of 3 sets of 10 squats and increase the amount of squats in each set by 1 squat each day.
    6. Advanced: To make this move more difficult, add handheld weights, keeping them at your side throughout the exercise. Increase weights for more intensity.

    2. Lunges

    Leg and butt workouts are not complete without lunges as they help work the muscles in both areas.

    alternating-lunge
      image via mystrengthtraining.com
      1. Start with legs shoulder-width apart and hands resting on your hips.
      2. Extend your right leg out in front of you and lower your hips toward the floor until both knees are at 90-degree angles. Make sure your front knee does not extend over your whole foot and keep your body straight pulling through your core.
      3. Push up on your extended front leg to return to your your original position. Repeat this with the left leg.
      4. Beginner: Repeat 10 lunges on each leg, increasing by 1 for each separate workout.
      5. Advanced: To make this more challenging hold weights in both hands or wear a heavy backpack. Alternatively, try side lunges that add a bit more of a challenge.

      3. Bridges

      Bridges really work your butt muscles and are good for both shaping and toning.

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      Bridge-Exercise
        image via fitndiets.com
        1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
        2. Keeping your arms relaxed on each side, lift your glutes off the floor pushing through your heels.
        3. Hold and squeeze your glute muscles in this position and then slowly lower your butt back down to the floor.
        4. Beginner: Try 10 reps, 3 times increasing slowly with each workout.
        5. Advanced: To make this move more difficult, add a stable weight to your stomach area or try a Unilateral Bridge by raising one knee to your chest or extend it all the way out, then start lifting your glutes off the floor as with a basic bridge.

        4. Plank

        Planks are ultimately great for your core but they also engage your glutes and leg muscles if done correctly. This is a great exercise as you can adjust the challenge by adding seconds to each plank.

        Planks
          image via womenshealthmag.com
          1. Lie on your front and gently raise your body onto your elbows, making sure elbows are shoulder-width apart.
          2. Slowly raise yourself onto your tip toes and hold.
          3. Beginner: Try holding a plank for as long as possible. Aim for 30 seconds to a minute and increase this over each workout.
          4. Advanced: Once you’ve mastered a basic plank, try a Knee Pull Plank which will work your legs and butt more. This involves pulling one knee in towards your stomach and extending it back.

          5. Deadlifts

          Deadlifts are amazing for targeting hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It’s really important that you maintain good form while performing deadlifts so try and do them in front of a mirror so that you can make sure you are doing them correctly.

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          c3358a7f_deadlift-main.xxxlarge_2x
            image via popsugar.com
            1. Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms shoulder-width apart, hanging straight down and making sure feet are shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent.
            2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together in back and keep your chest high. It is very important to keep your upper body in this position throughout the entire exercise.
            3. Slowly bend forward from the hips, pushing your butt back, keeping your shoulder blades retracted, and chin tucked in.
            4. Lower the dumbbells down your legs and bend down as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
            5. Hold for a second and then squeeze your glutes and return to starting position.
            6. Make sure you do this exercise slowly and keep your back and posture straight.
            7. Beginner: Repeat 10 times in a set of 3.
            8. Advanced: Increase your weights to make this more difficult and challenging.

            6. Hamstring Curls

            These are really great for your legs and will strengthen your hamstrings.

            leg-exercises-tb-hamstring-curl-dumbbell-3
              image via howstuffworks.com
              1. Lie on the floor face down with your arms linked in front of you.
              2. Place a weight in between your feet and grip tightly.
              3. Slowly lift both legs up at the knee until they are at a 90 degree angle from the floor.
              4. Slowly lower your legs back down again, aiming to keep the feet off the floor at all times.
              5. Beginner: Repeat 10 times in a set of 3.
              6. Advanced: Increase the weight to add more challenge.

              7. Calf Raises

              This move is specific in toning and strengthening your legs to give you shaped and defined leg muscles.

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              Calf-Raises
                image via top.me
                1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
                2. Slowly balance onto your toes and lift up your heels as far as you can.
                3. Make sure you push evenly your entire foot; don’t allow the weight to push over to your big toe or to the outside of your foot. Keep the push central.
                4. Slowly lower your heel to the ground.
                5. Beginner: Repeat 10 times for 3 sets. You can hold weights in your hand to add further intensity.
                6. Advanced: Try sumo squat calf raises for an extra challenge.

                8. Wall Sits

                These are fantastic for your glutes, calves and thighs and will test your endurance.

                Wall-Sit
                  image via popsugar.com
                  1. With your back straight against the wall, stand with your feet slightly apart and a small distance away from the wall.
                  2. Slowly bend your knees so that your thighs are at a 90 degree angle from the floor.
                  3. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute (or as long as you can)
                  4. Slowly use your leg muscles to bring yourself up to a standing position.
                  5. Beginner: Start with 30 seconds to 1 minute increasing the time by a few seconds each day.
                  6. Advanced: Try a one-legged wall squat by extending one leg out in front of you. This will work the butt and leg muscles more intensely. Change legs once your primary leg cannot sustain the 90 degree angle any longer.

                  Tips for Leg and Butt Workouts

                  • Remember when doing toning exercises, the key is to do the movements slowly and focus on squeezing the muscles as much as possible. It’s also important to remember that quality is better than quantity. It’s much more effective to increase intensity with each exercise than just doing more of the same exercise at the same level of intensity. This way the muscle is being challenged and will tone up much more quickly.
                  • Write down a schedule of your workouts as this will help you to keep motivation. Start with a weekly or monthly timetable of each daily workout you do. Make sure you show exactly how many reps you will do for each exercise and show a progression throughout the week or month by adding weights and intensity.
                  • Wear sensible, stable shoes that support your feet well to avoid injuries to your ankles.
                  • Be aware of your limits – don’t try using heavy weights straight away. Start small and work your way up as this will make the workouts a lot more beneficial and will avoid injuries.
                  • Always drink plenty of water when doing workouts as you can get easily dehydrated.
                  • Talk with your doctor if you suffer from back pain or are pregnant as these exercises may not be suitable.
                  • Remember to eat a healthy diet as eating foods high in saturated fats and sugar will only counteract the good work you’re putting in!

                  Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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                  Samantha Aloysius

                  Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                  We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                  We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                  So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                  Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                  What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                  Boundaries are limits

                  —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                  Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                  Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                  Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                  Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                  How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                  Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                  1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                  Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                  You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                  To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                  You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                  • When do you feel disrespected?
                  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                  • When do you want to be alone?
                  • How much space do you need?

                  You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                  2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                  Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                  Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                  3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                  Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                  That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                  Sample language:

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                  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                  Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                  4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                  Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                  Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                  Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                  We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                  It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                  It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                  Final Thoughts

                  Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                  Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                  Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                  The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                  Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                  Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                  They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                  Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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