BUILDING A STRONG BASE (LEGS AND GLUTES)
While your core is instrumental for developing deep strength within your powerhouse, assisting with better posture and overall better health, you can’t forget the base of your body- your legs and glutes.
Develop strong, balanced, leg and glute muscles, and you’ll notice a huge difference in your overall strength and endurance. While there are hundreds of exercise to select from, here are 2 options that work well for everyone. Just remember, the stronger, or more athletic you are, you may choose to perform additional reps or use heavier weight.
Plie’ (a.k.a Wide Leg Squat)
Targets: glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps
Begin: Stand tall with your feet several inches wider than hip-width apart, and toes pointed out. Hold a dumbbell in both hands with your arms fully extended down in front of you. (A kettle ball or medicine ball works well too.) Keep your shoulders relaxed and your posture tall by engaging your core.
Bend your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. It is important that your knees bent over your ankles, and not your toes. Keep your weight distributed equally over both feet, and balanced from heel to toe. Make sure as you bend your knees, that your body is completely vertical.
Return to your starting position by pressing through your heels, and squeezing your inner thighs towards each other. Make sure you feel your glutes and hamstrings engage as you return to your starting position.
Reps: between 10-16
Sets: between 2-4
Weight: Make sure the weight you use challenges you, but isn’t too heavy to maintain proper alignment.
Additional challenge: Once you have perfected this move, challenge your body even more by adding a front raise while squatting. Using your desired weight, raise your arms to the height of your shoulders. Make sure your shoulders stay relaxed, and away from your ears as you lift and lower your arms. If your body tips forward, re-engage your core and select a lighter weight.
Exercise Ball- Bridge with Press (a.k.a. Leg Curl)
Targets: glutes and hamstrings
Begin: Lie face up on the floor with your hands very close to your hips. Make sure your chest is wide and flat into the floor. Tuck your chin just enough so that you are looking out and way vs. straight up at the ceiling. Place your heels on top of the exercise ball. As you exhale, draw your navel to your spine, and tilt your pubic bone toward the sky. (Your low back should still be on the floor)
As you exhale through your mouth, engage your core even deeper. As you peel off the floor, begin to tighten your glutes and continue to lift your body to the tip of your shoulder blades, so it forms a straight line from shoulders to heels.
Digging your heels into the ball, bend your knees and contract your hamstrings to pull the ball toward your glutes. Keep your abs tight and roll the ball back out. Make sure your hips remain at the same height throughout the entire movement.
Reps: between 10-15
Sets: between 2-4
Additional Challenge: Once you have perfected this move, add a small, fairly light medicine ball between your knees. Make sure the ball doesn’t move as you go through this entire sequence. Another option is to perform the same exercise, with one heel on the ball and the other leg extended 45 degrees upward toward the ceiling.
By adding these 2 moves into your weekly leg routine, you’ll notice increased strength and muscle tone in no time. Always make sure to perform each exercise at a slow and controlled pace. Movements performed too quickly become sloppy, unsafe, and ineffective.
For more information about these and other moves contact Amy at: Amy@go2beyondmotion.com
You can also visit beyond motion at: Go2beyondmotion.com
~ Amy Lademann, Fitness Expert, Campus Calm