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Monday, June 29, 2020

How To: Anytime Anywhere Lower Body Exercises

zaka


As I mentioned in the previous section, there are numerous options for both cardio and resistance training to tone those thighs and butt.  
Today’s cardio machines and classes will guide you through great interval workouts and most of the machines are fairly self-explanatory (but seek help from gym employees if you are confused – avoid injury!).  

Guidance on doing effective and safe body weight and Pilates-based exercises is less available without the help of a Trainer or Instructor.  So I’m going to focus this section on presenting you some great Pilates and body weight-based exercises focused on muscle toning, strengthening and lengthening the lower body.
Lunge & Squat Matrix:
The table below describes several lunge and squat related exercises that can be done with just your body weight (add resistance tubing or hand weights for added intensity).

With squats and lunges it’s important to use proper technique so as not to strain your knees or lower back. Before describing several variations of lunges, here are some pointers on proper technique for all lunges:
Use Pilates breathing. In through the nose out through the mouth while tightening the corset of muscles around your waist to keep your core engaged. Keeping your core engaged during these exercises is key, so make a mental note to remind yourself throughout your repetitions. This will help protect your low back and maintain stability
Protect your knees. Don’t let your knees go past your toes in the downward phase of squats and lunges.  For squats you want to ‘lead’ the downward phase with your butt, not your knees. Focus on stability and keeping your legs in alignment (not collapsing inward or outward). 


For each of these Squat and Lunge Exercises, work up to doing two to three sets of twelve to fifteen repetitions (reps) each.  That is, for each side!

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t lunge/squat so deep as to have your thigh parallel to the floor. Go as deep as your strength, joints and endurance will allow and continue to challenge yourself as you get stronger. For any exercise you need to know your limitations. 
Joint injuries, arthritis, muscle weakness or other conditions may limit your ability to do certain exercises through the full range of motion or at all. Pain (ouch! pain, not my muscles are working hard pain) is a warning sign upon which you should stop the exercise immediately.

* Most of these exercises are included in Lower Body Sculpt video on CoreFitnessByJana.com
Inner and Outer Thigh Classic Pilates Side Series (with or without resistance tubing)
The Pilates side series, when done properly, tones & lengthens he leg muscles while also working the muscles of the waist, the obliques and transverse abdominus. (Can I get another Yeah! for multi-tasking?).  I’ve detailed two classic exercises that target the inner and outer thighs, oft neglected areas!
Lie on your side on the back edge of towel or mat to align yourself in a straight line.  Prop yourself up on your elbow with top hand resting in front of your sternum (chest).  Shoulder relaxed, waist long and lower waist slightly lifted off the mat (engage those abs!).



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