Five Killer Lower Body Exercises Guaranteed to Make You Feel the Burn
If you are looking for some killer lower body exercises to tone and tighten your legs and glutes, then you have come to the right place!
We've got a great one for you today.
However, this workout isn't for wimps. This is a tough one that is guaranteed to make you feel the burn. It's also very likely that you will get sore from these exercises. Don't let that scare you off! That soreness is how you know that you worked hard, and it's perfectly normal.
The more that you do these lower body exercises, the stronger that you'll get and the soreness will subside.
How Often Should I Do These Lower Body Exercises?
According to the Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines, you should do strength training and work out every major muscle group at least twice every week.
To tighten and tone your entire lower body, we recommend doing our lower body exercises twice per week for six to eight weeks. Just don't do this workout two days in a row. You want to allow at least 48 hours in between doing this workout to give your body time to recover.
If you are a beginner, start by doing just one set of each exercise. As you get stronger, you should work up to three sets of each exercise.
The Equipment You'll Need
One thing that we love about this lower body workout is that it doesn't require a bunch of fancy equipment. All you really need is a resistance band, sometimes called a mini band or a loop band. Resistance bands look like giant rubber bands, and they are excellent for tightening and toning.
If you want to make this workout more challenging, you can also add some hand weights.
The only other thing that you'll need for this workout is bench or a chair or a step.
How We Chose the 5 Lower Body Exercises in Our List
When we put this program together, we chose exercises that hit every muscle in your lower body. The American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine approve all five of these lower body exercises as safe and effective.
Another reason that we love these five exercises is that they are appropriate for all fitness levels.
These five lower body exercises will make you feel the burn and leave you feeling satisfied. However, I'm not going to sugar coat this: They are tough. My clients love to hate them and hate to love them. Yet there is no denying one simple fact: They work!
Five Lower Body Exercises Guaranteed to Make You Feel the Burn
To put this workout together, you will work in circuits. One full circuit looks like this:
- Step ups with knee lift (12 to 15 reps on each leg)
- Plie squats (15 to 25 reps)
- Hamstring curls (15 to 20 reps on each leg)
- Bulgarian split squats (12 to 15 reps on each leg)
- Wall bridges with abduction (10 to 15 bridges with 10 to 15 abductions per set)
If you are a beginner, start by doing one circuit. As you get stronger, you will work up to three of them. Complete one full set of each exercise for each circuit before you start over at the beginning.
1. Step ups with knee lift
For this exercise, you will need a bench or a chair or an elevated step. The higher your platform, the harder this movement will be. You can also make this exercise more challenging by holding hand weights.
Start by placing one foot on your platform and engaging your core. Be sure that when you're in the starting position, your top knee doesn't bend beyond 90 degrees to protect your knees. Then focus your body weight into your top heel as you step up.
We love this exercise because it hits every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, glutes hamstrings, calves, and core. Another reason that we love this one is that it gives you some awesome balance work. It's also an excellent natural butt lifter!
For each set, you should do 12 to 15 reps on each leg. To really feel the burn make sure that you complete all of the reps on one leg before you switch to the other.
Check out this video how-to guide:
2. Plie squats
The next exercise in our workout today comes from the world of dance. Have you ever wondered why dancers have such great legs? It's because they do a lot of plies!
You don't need any equipment for the one. You can use just your body weight for resistance. Believe me, that will be plenty. But if you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can add hand weights.
Start this movement by stepping your feet out wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes turned out at about 45 degrees. As you bend down, make sure that your knees are bending in the same direction that your toes point. You should also keep your knees directly above your ankles throughout the movement, never allowing your knees to go forward of your toes.
Plie squats work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and inner thighs.
For this exercise, you will be going for high reps. For each set, you should do 15 to 25 reps.
Here's a video guide:
3. Hamstring curls with resistance band
Next, we're going to focus on the backs of your legs. For this exercise, you will need a resistance band. Make sure that choose a resistance band with strong resistance for this one. If your leg isn't burning after about eight reps, then you need to go with a heavier band.
Start by placing the band around your ankles or the arches of your shoes. Then lay down on your stomach with your legs extended. Plant one toe into the ground as your anchor and then curl your other foot in toward your hips.
Throughout this exercise, make sure that you keep your hip bones on the ground. You want to feel this in your hamstrings. If you feel it in your lower back, then you're doing something wrong. Most likely, it means that you need to switch to a lighter band.
To really feel the burn, do 15 to 20 reps on each leg per set.
Watch this video to get an idea of the correct way to perform this exercise:
4. Bulgarian split squats
I love this next exercise. It's another killer butt lifter. However, it works a lot more than just your butt. It also works your quads, hamstrings, and inner thighs.
To do this exercise, you will need a chair or a step to elevate your back foot. If you are a beginner or if you have trouble with balance, you can do the split squats with both feet on the ground.
You can make this exercise more challenging by adding dumbbells.
Start by elevating your back foot and then hop your front foot forward so that there's a lot of space between your feet front to back. Focus your body weight into your front heel as you lunge down.
When you squat down, your front knee should stay lined up directly above your ankle. You never want your front knee to bend beyond 90 degrees, and you don't want your knee going forward of your toes.
As you do the movement, you should be able to look down and see your toes. If your front knee is going forward of your toes, then you need to hop your front foot out more.
You should do 12 to 15 reps on each leg for each set.
Here's a video explanation:
5. Wall glute bridges with abduction using resistance band
For the last of our lower body exercises, we are going to burn up those glutes. You're going to love this one. Well, you may not love it while you're doing it, but you're going to love how it tightens and tones up your booty.
This exercise works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and outer thighs.
You will need a resistance band for this one. If you are a beginner, you can do this movement without the resistance band.
Start by laying on your back with your feet on the wall. You want to line yourself up so that your hips and knees bend at 90 degrees. Your shins should be parallel to the ground, and your knees should line up with your ankles.
Pushing your weight into your heels on the wall, push your hips up as high as you can get them while you squeeze your glutes. You know what I always say; if you don't squeeze that butt, no one else will either.
Do 10 to 15 glute bridges, and then on the last rep, hold your hips up and spread your knees 10 to 15 times.
A Final Thought About These 5 Lower Body Exercises
Whew! Now that's what I call a great workout. Your butt should feel tighter already.
Just one word of caution, though.
If you are new to this combination of lower body exercises, then you're going to be sore. Don't freak out about that. It's perfectly normal, and the soreness will ease with time.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is, "Should I do these lower body exercises again if I'm still sore from the last workout?" The answer is, it depends on how sore you are.
If after 48 hours you're still super sore then that is a good indication that your body needs another day or two of rest and recovery. One thing that you can do if you find that you're really sore is cardio. Believe it or not, cardio will help with the pain. Give it a try!
Now if you wait 48 hours and are still just a little sore, then it's time to do the lower body exercises again.
So, what do you think? How did you do with our lower body workout? We'd love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section below how you liked our lower body exercises. And share with our readers if you have any great tips for beginners.
Have a healthy, happy day!