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Work off the Weekend: Lower Body Workout

Even though I went into last week with the best of intentions the Christmas break absolutely slayed me, you guys. Red wine. Pasta. Cheese. ITALIAN PASTRIES. Oh my god – I couldn’t even resist. I had to have a taste (and seconds) of nearly everything. Will power? Gone. None. Nada. Zip. I did a fairly good job of keeping the thoughts of guilt and regret at bay and maintained a fairly rigorous workout schedule, but I can’t help but feel eager to get back on track and into my normal routine.

It is the LAST Monday in 2013 so let’s hit it hard and make it good. As you tackle your workouts moving forward I challenge you to stay focused, move with a purpose and make every rep count towards building a better you.

Personally, my trouble areas are my legs. They are the hardest to tone and the first spot I see “go” if I take too long of a break from my training. This work out is targeted towards the lower body, do it to work off your weekend…and your winter break indulgences!

Do each drill 3 times, 15 reps in each set. Minimal rest in between sets and reps, people! You can either do one exercise at a time, three times through, or you can do the entire workout and repeat from the top, repeating three times. Up to you! You’ll need a resistance band and HEAVY dumbbells.

Hip Extensions
Start on your hands and knees. Keeping your knee bent, lift one leg up and drive the heel to the ceiling. Use a resistance band here to increase the intensity. Loop the band across your foot and hold on to the handles. Careful that the band doesn’t snap back, that shit seriously hurts.

Side Lying Abductor
Using a resistance band around your knees lie on your side and bring your knees to a 90-degree angle to your torso. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as high as you can. Lower and repeat keeping tension in the band the entire time. The slower you go the harder this will be.

Glute Bridges
Begin laying on the ground with a bench at your feet. Position dumbbells on your lap and place your heels on top of the bench. Lift your hips off of the ground and position feet such that your shins are in line with your ankles. Then, pop your hips up towards the ceiling with your shoulder blades and heels supporting your weight. Slowly lower and repeat. This range of motion is short and sweet. Lift your hips as high as you can go squeezing your glutes to ensure that the backside of your legs are taking all of the heat. If you are without a bench you can do this flat footed on the ground.

Step-ups
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place your left foot on top of a bench/box. Pressing through the foot on the bench, straighten the leg to stand on top of the bench/box. Then, in a controlled motion, lower the right leg back down to the floor and keep the left leg on the bench. Repeat all reps on the left before switching to the other side. Move slowly with control. Keep your core tight to maintain balance and don’t let yourself snap up on the bench or fall back to the floor.

Single-Leg Squats or Pistols
Oh these are hard. I love them. In a standing position raise one leg up and extend out at the knee. If you’ve never done a single leg squat before then you may want to focus on the movement itself before playing with additional weight. With your weight focused in the heel of the foot on the floor slowly lower yourself into a squat positiong. Your hips will go back and you can extend your arms in front of you to help with balance. Move slowly and go as low as you can. Press through the front heel to return back to standing. If you have a bench you can use it for support at the bottom to help yourself back up.

Diamond Squats
Start by standing with your hips and legs pointing outward, about 45 dergrees. Your heels will be close together (about shoulder width apart) and your toes will be pointing out. Come up onto the balls of your feet, engaging the calf muscle while keeping your heels as closely together as possible. Make sure to keep your body upright (don’t lean forward) as you lower yourself into a squat position. Your legs will form a diamond and your hips will go straight down (not so much outward).

Walking Squat with Dumbbells
In a low squat position, hold dumbbell goblet-style. Then, take a step out with the right leg and squat. Bring the left leg in, stay low to the ground and keep an eye on your form. Don’t let your shoulders and back hunch over, and keep your hips back, weight in the heels. Continue taking another step out to the right and squat. Continue the lateral squat walk to the right for all the reps. Then perform the same motion to the left.

The key to effective glute and lower body work is to push through the heels in any exercise and keep constant tension in the muscles when training. You can achieve this by using heavy weights – don’t be afraid of them! Fatigue will set in and it will burn for sure – that means it is WORKING! Push past it, keep going and don’t give up!

Image via: Nike

2 Comments

  1. Hannah Schneider

    I’m glad to know that even super fit trainers give in to holiday cravings now and then…I feel a little better about myself now 😉 Thanks for the motivation to work off the red wine and pie I consumed last week 🙂

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