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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

                  A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                  Published on August 29, 2019

                  How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

                  How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

                  Having a weight loss plateau is perfectly normal. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though, and it feels like all your hard work has ground to a halt.

                  Instead of seeing a weight loss plateau as a roadblock, you need to see them as speed bumps that may get in the way from time to time but, can still be navigated.

                  This article will look at what causes these plateaus and how you can get through them the next time they may strike.

                  What Is a Weight Loss Plateau?

                  The basics of this plateau are that weight loss or fat loss has stalled after a period of progression. But what is the real reason this has happened and why does it occur when it does? Weight loss, or fat loss, has seemed to stall and the first thing to do is to recognize if this is a plateau.

                  If you weigh yourself daily, you know that there are fluctuations that occur each day. If you are weighing yourself every day, you want to at least be consistent with it. Your true weight will be first thing in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom. You want to weigh yourself at the same time and also make sure your scale is calibrated properly. Even a floor that is not perfectly even can give you an inaccurate reading.

                  It’s important to do this first thing as your weight can fluctuate just over one day, with people often seeing variations of 3-5 pounds. Since there are these daily changes, you want to take a different approach and look at your weekly averages week after week. This will give you a better snapshot at your progress and if you’ve actually reached a plateau or not.

                  True weight loss happens over weeks and months and that’s why tracking is important. You should see a gradual decrease over this longer time period. Healthy and sustained weight loss will be around 1-2 pounds per week. It’s a linear path that will have small up and down spikes over the time period but should still move progressively downward.

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                  When you see that the weight isn’t gradually dropping the way it had been over the past weeks and months, that can be your sign you’ve hit a true weight loss plateau.

                  The Issues with the Scale

                  A scale gives you some data but doesn’t always show the whole picture. You will not get an idea of true body composition as a regular scale will not show a balance between lean muscle and body fat. You may have lost 5 pounds of body fat, but gained 5 pounds of muscle and the number on the scale would stay the same. That body compositional change, however, would show some great physical results.

                  The body fat loss would help you appear leaner and the lean muscle gain would also enhance your overall appearance. You could look significantly different while the number on the scale hasn’t changed.

                  The scale is also not going to reveal issues surrounding water retention or bloating along with the hormonal fluctuations that can cause these issues. You can still check the scale, but a better indicator of weight loss will be with a tape measure.

                  When you’ve lost body fat, you will notice your clothes fitting differently and tracking your body part measurements can be a great way to monitor results. If you are going the tape measure route, measure these main areas:

                  • Hips
                  • Right thigh – at the midrange point
                  • Waist – just below your ribcage and above your belly button
                  • Chest – measure under the armpits
                  • Right bicep – unflexed
                  • Right calf
                  • Neck

                  You can take measurements on your right and left appendages, but this is a good base of measurement to track progress.

                  Why Is Your Weight Not Going Down?

                  This may be because you are doing too much and not getting enough calories at the same time. If you are overdoing it in the gym, it can be like taking a few steps backward. Your workouts shouldn’t be over 75 minutes (30-40 may be all you need) and you want some rest days throughout the week. If you’re working out every day and exhausting yourself, your body will go into that self-preservation mode, raising stress hormones and, again, making weight loss difficult.

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                  If you are involved in an adequate exercise program (3-4 days per week) and going for a reasonable amount of time, you may need to add in a little more physical activity if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau. This doesn’t have to be overly intense but some extra cardio may help. This can be another 5-10 minutes on to what you are normally doing, or one or two 20-minute walks added on to your weekly amount.

                  You also want to make sure you’re eating enough and getting into a bit of a calorie deficit[1] if weight loss has stalled. You need not count every calorie but it’s a good idea to take a few days to track your nutrition intake so you at least have a good idea where you’re at.

                  Many people do not understand how many calories they are taking in each day. Calorie counting is far from a perfect science but to get a rough ballpark figure, the average woman needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain. An average man will need around 2500 calories.[2] There are many factors that can alter this requirement but this is a good starting point.

                  If you’re not losing weight, you’ll want to reduce that amount by around 300 calories each day and see how this is going after a week or so. If there has been no change, you might need to drop another 200 calories. You don’t want this to go lower as not enough calories can have a negative effect on your metabolism and will lead to stalled weight loss.

                  Is 1000 Calories a Day Too Little?

                  In a word? Yes. Your body needs more than that just to carry out its basic functions of living – and that’s not including you getting up and moving around. Even if you were just to lie on the couch all day, your body will need at least 1200 to 1400 calories just to exist. If you are not giving your body sufficient calories, it goes into panic mode. Your metabolism will drop as your body needs to hold on to every precious calorie to sustain itself. When this happens you can kiss weight loss goodbye. The other problem is eventually you will snap because you are so hungry and will eat everything in sight.

                  When you flood calories into a body with a slowed metabolism, you can guess what they end up being stored as.

                  Keeping yourself fed with high-quality, and nutritious foods will allow your body to run optimally and provide you with energy to be active, burn body fat, and bust through those weight loss plateaus.

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                  What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

                  This is where it’s important to take a step back and have a look at what’s been going on in your life. Tracking your info can be helpful because it gives you some data to observe. You don’t have to be obsessive about it but recording your workouts, sleep, stress levels and understanding your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and basic metabolic rate (BMR) will help give you an indicator where the problems may arise.

                  If you’ve noticed you’ve been overly stressed with work and life lately, this may be the culprit. When your body experiences stress, it elevates stress hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol is constantly elevated, it can slow weight loss to a crawl. Stress hormones are released in the body as a way to preserve itself. The body will be more likely to hold on to body fat as it believes some sort of trauma is happening and it needs all the backup fuel it can get. At this point, your body is not interested in burning body fat, or building muscle – it’s interested in preserving things.

                  Higher stress may also lead to a lack of sleep which causes the same issues, and when you add these two together, they compound their negative effects. If you’re seeing this to be the case, it means you will have to slow things down a bit. Make getting extra sleep a priority and you may have to back off the workouts for a bit. Even better, taking some time off from the gym can be a great way to let your whole body, central nervous system, and immune system recover.

                  This could be a good time to focus on relaxing, meditation, or yoga. You also want to make sure you’re keeping your diet as clean as possible as eating things like refined sugar and carbs when stressed can easily lead to weight gain.

                  Listen to your body and give it a breather when needed. Doing this will allow it to come back stronger than before.

                  How to Get Past a Weight Loss Plateau

                  When you hit a plateau, it’s a sign that your body is becoming complacent. There is no longer enough stimulation to warrant a response from your body. If you remember back to high school biology, you’ll recall homeostasis. This is a state of balance and it’s the preferred state your body wants to be in. Your body is all about self-preservation and keeping things stable. This is an evolutionary response to conserve energy for those times when it may be more needed.

                  Your body will learn to do things as efficiently as possible and therefore, you will progress with weight loss, and muscle and strength gains for a while – but then it hits a wall. Your body has figured out how to efficiently manage what you’re throwing at it, and this means it’s time to switch things up.

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                  For workouts, you want to always keep your body guessing. The best workout is the one you haven’t done yet. Your body needs an ever-changing stimulus in order to get more results. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a drastic overhaul. If you’re exercising, you just want to make changes to your routine, exercise order, duration, or repetitions. At the very least, you want to do at least what you did last workout – plus a little more. If you ran for 30 minutes, go for 32 next time. If you did 10 repetitions of an exercise, go for 11 or 12.

                  You can change the order of the exercises you do, perform some cardio before strength training, add in some high-intensity intervals, or shorten your rest periods between sets. The main thing is to give a bit of a shock to your body in order for it to change.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Weight loss plateaus will happen, it’s just all about being prepared for when they strike. Getting an understanding of why they happen is important to progress past them. What’s also important is realizing how your body works, and what it needs in order for it to respond favourably to exercise and diet.

                  A weight-loss plateau can be overcome with changes in activity, addressing lifestyle issues, and keeping the diet as clean as possible. Recognizing when stress has overwhelmed you, sleep is being neglected, and you need a break will go a long way in helping combat weight loss plateaus.

                  You also need to be aware of consuming enough calories per day and the issues that come from not nourishing your body properly. Healthy weight loss is all about combining exercise, diet, rest, recovery, and an overall holistic approach for it to happen.

                  More About Healthy Weight Loss

                  Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

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