There are a couple exercise that even the beginner can do to help shape, tone and strengthen the lower body. It is important to have strong legs as they are your base and foundation that almost every other exercise you preform will be counting on to have proper form and posture. There are four basic exercises you should preform and see how you feel.
There are a couple of key points to always be aware of in all four exercises mentioned below.
Basic Squat: Stand with feet hip distance apart. With shoulder blades and lats engaged, core engaged by pushing the belly out lower the hips towards the floor go as low as your flexibility allows and slowly raise back up by engaging your glutes (act like you are pushing your knees out). Your primary muscle groups are your glutes, hamstrings, and quads with this exercise. It is a big time calorie burning exercise. Do 3 sets of 12 reps to start and work up to doing 20 reps and add weight that is appropriate to keeping good form.
Deadlift: Stand with feet hip distance apart, keep your shoulders blades and lats engaged, push the hips back with a slight bend in the knees and feel as though you are sticking your sit bones out. Make sure you are not rounding in the spine, you are hinging form your hips so there should be no movement in the spine. Slowly raise back up by squeezing contracting your hamstring and your glutes, keep your weight in the heels. You will be targeting your hamstrings, glutes and lower back with this exercise. Do 3 sets of 12 reps to start and work up to doing 20 reps, add weight appropriate to your ability to keep your form.
Plie or Sumo Squat: Stand with your feet wide, toes out. With knees in line with toes, lower into a squat. Push through the heels driving the knees wider by engaging the glutes and lift back up. When you lift back up really squeeze your glutes at the top almost doing a hip thrust, feel as though you are pulling your heels together. You will be targeting inner and outer thigh, your glutes and quads. Do 3 sets of 12 reps to start and work up to doing 20 reps, add weight appropriate to your ability to keep your form.
Split squat (standing lunge): Stand with one foot forward and one foot back (staggered stance) feet apart about hip width and toes forward. Slowly lower into lunge position, keeping body erect and abs in, knees at 90 degree angles. You want to feel as though you are sitting back into the lunge with the tail bone tucked under (make sure you are not leaning forward). Push through the front heel, squeeze your butt and slowly lift up to starting position (without locking knees). You will be targeting your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Do 3 sets of 12 reps to start and work up to doing 20 reps, add weight appropriate to your ability to keep your form.
Practice these four different exercises with no weight and work on your form. As you start increasing the reps and this becomes easy start adding weight with either dumbbells or a barbell. Make sure when preforming these exercise you are properly warmed up by doing 5 to 10 minutes of cardio and/or some dynamic stretching to get the legs loose and warm.
These exercise are great for toning and shaping the legs. There are many different variations to these exercises and if you are interested in learning more come on over to ferrum fitness and we can show you how to change up your workout routine and give you more dynamic movements to work on. Remember proper form is the most important aspect of every exercise, make sure your form is right before you move onto a more advance stage of the exercise or add resistance to the exercise.