We kicked off our “Getting Ready For Spring” series with the benefits of dry brushing for your skin and we’ve just finish off the “Tank Top Workout” to tone your shoulders and your arms. So, what better way to close out this series, than with a little lower body action?
With spring already here and summer just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to start firming up your lower half in anticipation of the return of… shorts!
These five moves will help ensure you never get bored while you’re working out and toning up your backside. Do each exercise two days per week, completing three sets of 12 to 15 reps for a lower body blast that hurts so good.
- Plié Squat
How to: Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out at 45-degree angles (a). Keep your back straight, knees over toes and your weight in the heels of your feet (b). Engage your glutes and thighs as you lower into a deep squat until thighs parallel to the ground (or as close as you can get them) (c). Powering through your heels, push up to return to starting position. Repeat.
- Lateral Step-Out Squat
How to: Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart (a). Keeping toes pointed straight ahead and knees over toes, lower into a stand squat (b). Hold that squat position as you take two steps to your right (c). Pause, then take two small side steps to your left. Repeat.
- Plank Leg Lift
How to: Get into a high plank position on the floor, hands planted under your shoulders, butt down (a). Engage your abs by pulling your belly button in towards your spine (b). Squeeze your left glute to lift your left leg two inches off the ground, keeping your leg straight (c). Tap your left leg out to the side, then back to starting position. Repeat, then switch legs.
- Fire Hydrant
How to: Position yourself on your hands and knees, in tabletop position. Engage your abs engaged by pulling your belly button in towards your spine (a). Keeping your hips pointed towards the ground and leg bent to a 90-degree angle, raise your left knee out to the side as high as you can (b). Pause at the top, then return to starting position. Repeat, then switch legs.
- Lying Leg Lift
How to: Lie flat on your stomach, with your forehead resting on your hands (a). Squeeze your left glute, to lift your left leg and thigh as high off the ground as you can, keeping your leg straight (b). Pause at the top, then lower back down. Switch legs, repeating 10 times on each leg.
If you are like me and you carry most of your fat in your lower body (thanks genetics), while there’s no way to spot-reduce the hips, buttocks or thighs, you can lose inches by utilizing some of the more common methods of weight loss. Here are some additional tips to keep you on track to getting yourself beach body ready for this spring and summer:
- Start With Cardio: Cardio is one of the most effective tools for weigh loss, helps you blast away calories so you can lose body fat. Although you can’t decide where you’re going to lose that fat from (thank your genetics for that), jumping rope, jumping jacks, rowing, cycling and swimming target your lower body. And workouts like sprinting and HITT are the most effective for torching fat all over.
- Lift Weights: Along with regular cardio, strength training helps you slim down and achieve a tighter, more defined physique. That way, you have muscle tone to show off once you shed fat.
- Plan To Succeed: Planning your workout is essential to your success. Include at least four to five 30 minutes cardio sessions per week, even if some days you’re only taking a brisk walk or jog — to get your heart rate up and help burn fat. Do a strength training workout at least three times a week that includes full-body exercises as well as ones that target your trouble zones.
- Watch What You Eat: No matter how much time you spend in the gym or how hard you work, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You can sweat it out with cardio and weights, but you won’t lose weight if you’re not fueling your body properly. Choose fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts and healthy fats. Avoid an excess of processed and sugary foods, which can result in water retention and fat gain.
Remember to lose weight and blast your lower body, you can’t do things at random. Instead, you need to create an effective, targeted workout plan to shape up, so you can start to see improvements in as little as a couple of weeks.