6 Lower-Body Exercises That Openfit Live Trainer Natalie Loves
In the same way that upper body strength can make everyday movements easier, lower body exercises give power and mobility to your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. As the biggest muscles in the body, strengthening them helps make you more efficient at activities like going up stairs, running, walking, jumping, and even just standing. With better muscle tone, you improve your alignment, giving you the benefits of proper posture.
“I love working my lower body,” says Openfit Live trainer Natalie Rose Edwards. “My routine at least twice a week is dedicated to lower body, because it can build intensity in HIIT workouts, lift your booty, increase strength, tone your legs, and get your heart rate up.”
Here, she shares her top six lower-body picks, and be sure to catch her on Openfit Live for a great workout that often incorporates moves like these.
These lift the glutes, strengthen quads and hamstrings, and work nearly every muscle in your lower body.
- Stand with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward, and arms extended in front of you. You can also hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, gaze forward, feet flat, and lower back in its natural arch, bend your knees and sit your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep the weight in your heels. Your knees should stay in line with the middle of your feet.
- Pause, and return to the starting position.
Do 15 reps and 3 sets. If using weights, start light and increase them over time.
2. Reverse Lunges
Lunges are another classic move that strengthens your quads, glutes, and core, and they challenge your balance, too. They’re a great exercise to build your lower-body strength overall.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. If you want, hold a pair of dumbbells at arms’ length by your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, back flat, shoulders back, and core engaged, take a large step back with your right leg.
- Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel with the floor. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, with the right knee hovering a couple of inches off the ground.
- Pause, then drive off your back leg through the ball of your foot to stand and switch sides.
Do 12 reps and 3 sets on each leg.
3. Single Leg Hip Presses
This is a great exercise for single leg power and strength. It also targets the hamstrings and glutes — and you really feel the burn. Plus, this move challenges the core and balance.
- Start on your back, with knees bent and feet hip width apart.
- Tuck your tailbone, then extend one leg up toward the ceiling.
- Drive through your heel and lift your hips while maintaining placement and control of the rest of your body.
- Drive the elevated leg up even more, pause, then lower down with control. Switch sides for one full rep.
Do 10 reps and 2 sets on each leg.
Here’s an effective exercise to target your inner thighs and work your medial glutes. These abductor muscles help stabilize and propel you, and prevent your knees and lower back from overdoing it.
- Lie on your right side with your feet and hips stacked, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your head resting on your right arm.
- Draw your knees in toward your body until your feet are in line with your butt. Place your left hand on your left hip to ensure it doesn’t tilt backward. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your abs engaged and your feet together, raise your left knee as far as you can without rotating your hip or lifting your right knee off the floor.
- Hold for 1 second, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move, before slowly lowering your left knee to the starting position.
Do 30 reps on each side for one set.
This sculpts everything from the glutes, hamstrings, and core to the lats and shoulders, allowing you to lift heavier and build power. Add size and shape to your lower body and extra perkiness for the booty.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of heavy dumbbells or a barbell in front of your thighs, palms facing toward you.
- Keeping your back flat, shoulders back, and core engaged, drive your hips back and hinge forward at your waist as you bend your knees slightly. Think about closing a door with your butt!
- Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor and/or you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Keep the weight(s) within an inch or two of your legs throughout the move.
- Pause, and then slowly reverse the movement to return to the standing position.
Do 10 reps and 3 sets.
This classic ballet move is great for posture, balance, and alignment. It also builds strength in the glutes, quads, and core.
- Stand tall with your feet together and your toes pointing forward. Put your weight in your heels, then turn your legs out from the hips so your toes point out to the sides.
- Keeping your chest up, gaze forward, feet flat, and lower back in its natural arch, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should keep tracking in line with the middle of your feet.
- Move slowly and with control. Press through your heels to fire up your hamstrings and glutes.
- Pause, and return to the starting position.
- Keep a long, neutral spine and avoid hunching your back or sticking your tailbone out.
- Keep your abs engaged the whole time to help you maintain this position as you bend your knees and lower into the plié.
Do 10 reps and 2 sets. You can add a pulse or hold for extra burn.