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Legs and Glutes: the 5 best exercises!

Exercises for the legs and glutes are very popular amongst the female audience.

It’s very visible in fitness classes, either in localized exercise classes, classes with bars or HIIT, females dominate. Why?

 This can be explained by the strength and endurance that women possess in the lower part of their bodies, as opposed to the upper part.

According to the study “Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics” the distribution of lean mass in women is lower in the upper body. However, it’s important to train the entire body, both the lower and the upper part of the body.

 You can see some options for arms exercises and for exercises for the abs in our blog.

 Although these exercises are popular amongst women, men shouldn’t skip training these parts of the body.

There’s a tendency for men to train the upper part of the body more often than the lower part of the body. The famous phrase applies here: “don’t skip leg day”.

Leg exercises are very popular amongst women

In this article we’ll give you some options for exercises for the legs and glutes for both men and women.

Are you ready?

TOP 5 exercises for the legs and glutes

5: Hip lift

This exercise is often recommended, taught and performed in gym and Leg Power classes.

In localized gym classes it’s very common to see women with bars and weights above the pelvis trying to support them as the music progresses, this increases the difficulty and intensity of the exercise.

You don’t want to be left behind, do you? Challenge yourself!

This exercise is one of the most effective exercises for the glutes, posterior thigh muscles and for the abdominal area. It also helps to strengthen the lower back.

How to perform:

  • Lie belly up with your back flat on the floor (mat) and your legs bent. The feet should be on the floor and the arms placed along the body.
  • Raise the hip upwards without lifting your shoulders off the floor and exhale as you move.
  • Slowly lower trying to inhale at the same rhythm.
  • Repeat the movement as often as necessary or recommended.

Tip: contract the glutes, both while going up and down. The exercise will be more effective and the results will appear faster.

The hip lift is a very effective exercise to work the glutes

 

4: The ‘’Good morning’’

It’s an exercise based on the gestures used in some countries as a form of greeting or appreciation.

This exercise, called the “Good morning” lift, has some similarities to the Deadlift exercise.

Some of the muscles that are worked together with the glutes are the posterior thigh muscles, the spine erectors, the latissimus dorsum and some muscles of the abdominal area.

How to perform:

  • In a vertical position, keep your feet apart and aligned with your shoulders. Place the bar on the back of the shoulders and your hands on the bar (or behind the head), always trying to keep the upper body as straight as possible throughout the process.
  • Bend your hips and lower your upper body always in a straight line until it’s practically parallel to the floor and you feel your posterior muscles stretch (as if you were making a bow). At this moment you should inhale!
  • Raise the upper body to the initial position always with a straight spine, exhaling as you move.

Tip: Try to do this exercise in front of a mirror to make sure you’re in the correct position.

And don’t forget! When you say hello to someone, make a bow.

The "good morning" exercise helps to work several muscles, among them the posterior of the thigh and the glutes

 

3: The Lateral Squat

It’s an exercise that allows you to work the glutes, quadriceps and the abductor and adductor muscles at the same time.

How to perform:

  • Vertical position with your legs apart.
  • With your upper body slightly bent, but straight, and looking forward, squat to the left or right side (as you prefer), “pushing” the hip back and keeping the other leg extended with the foot supported. The knee should not pass the toe. Inhale!
  • Raise to the initial position with the upper body straight and, without stopping, repeat the movement for the other side. At this moment you should exhale!
  • Repeat as often as necessary.

Tip: Increase the intensity of this exercise by using a bar or dumbbell. It will help you to gain more resistance in these muscles and to reduce the risk of injury.

During the following days, going up and down stairs will seem like an adventure, but it will be worth it!

Lateral squat with a bar will increase the intensity of the exercise

2: Dynamic Lunge

In some gyms it’s normal to see people going from one side to the other with a bar with weight resting on their shoulders, walking and crouching alternately.

The exercise they’re doing is called the dynamic lunge. For many people, doing this exercise is a drama. For a good performance of this exercise it’s essential to have a good balance.

The muscles worked in this exercise are the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and the great adductor.

How to perform:

  • Stand with your back straight and keep your legs apart (shoulder width apart) and look forward with your knees slightly bent.
  • Take a step forward. Raise the heel of the leg that was left behind and descend by flexing the knee until it’s aligned with the heel. The front leg flexes and follows the movement without passing the foot line. At this moment you should inhale!
  • Return to the initial position by raising slowly, exhaling and always looking forward and with the upper body always straight. This is the secret to this exercise!
  • Repeat the movement with the other leg.

This exercise is very versatile and can be done with dumbbells, bars, with jumps, etc. It’s almost mandatory in a leg training!

 Dynamic lunge is a very demanding and versatile leg exercise

 

1: Jumping squat

This exercise is also considered a cardio exercise and is one of the most explosive variations within the squats.

It’s part of what’s described as plyometric exercises. This type of training involves jumping and explosion and during this training the muscles go through the processes of stretching and contracting.

Jumping squats are great for muscle building and fat loss.

This type of exercise is very common in HIIT training.

Read more about HIIT training in our blog.

This exercise is quite complete and helps to work various muscles of the lower body at the same time, including the so-called “twins”. Some of the muscles worked in this exercise are: quadriceps, glutes, adductor, soleus, hamstrings and gastrocnemius.

How to perform:

  • Feet at hip width, always pointed forwards and well supported. The back should be stable and you should look forwards.
  • Inhale and lower by placing the hip back and the knees bent, without crossing the toes of the feet. Keep the upper body slightly forwards (as if you were going to sit) and the glutes contracted.
  • Exhale going up and make a vertical jump, preferably as explosive as possible and always with the abdomen contracted, until you reach the initial position.
  • Repeat as often as necessary.

Doing 20 normal squats and doing 20 Jumping Squats is different. There’s nothing like experiencing it!

Jumping squats are an ideal plyometric exercise to gain muscle and burn fat

 

To make your training more complete and effective, choose to alternate strength exercises with plyometric exercises. This will help you to burn body fat and to gain incredible strength in your body, especially in the leg area.

Tip: Make a circuit of these exercises. 🙂 Good training!

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The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About David Silva

David Silva
David Silva is a Personal Trainer and FIT and Life Coach. He uses his profession to inspire others and get them to achieve their goals, whether through his job or his writing. His motto is "A mission of life is a mission accomplished".

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