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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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                  Jenny Marchal

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                  Published on March 8, 2019

                  How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                  How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                  When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

                  Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

                  Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

                  How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

                  How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

                  Think about your current workouts:

                  If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

                  In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

                  A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

                    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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                    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

                    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

                    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

                    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

                    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

                    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

                    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

                    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

                    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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                    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

                    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

                    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

                    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

                    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

                    Meet Strong Stan

                    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

                    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

                    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

                    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

                    Meet Flexible Fiona

                    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

                    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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                    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

                    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

                    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

                    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

                    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

                    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

                    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

                    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

                    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

                    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

                    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

                    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

                    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

                      Final Thoughts

                      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

                      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

                      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

                      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

                      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

                      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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