Thursday, January 13, 2011

No Equipment Needed Strength Training Exercises for the Butt, Thighs, and Legs

You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to get a good strength training workout.  There are plenty of exercises that can build strength by just using your own body weight.  For the lower body the basic squat can't be beat.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, toes and knees facing forward. Keeping your back straight, raise your arms in front of you to shoulder level as you lower down into the squat.  Raising your arms helps maintain your balance.  Do this move as if you were going to sit in a chair.  Try to get your thighs parallel to the ground, and be sure your knees stay behind your toes as you lower into the squat.  Squeeze your glutes as you rise back to standing.  If you have problems with your knees don't squat as deeply.  Do 3 sets of 12 to 16 repetitions.  Squats tone the quadriceps (thighs), lower back and the buttocks, and also work the hamstrings, calves, and core (abs and back).
Lunges are another great exercise for the lower body.

 Lunges work most of the muscles of the leg, including the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.  To do this move, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take one giant step forward with your right foot. Place your hands  on your hips for balance.  Lower your body straight down until your back leg forms a right angle at the knee.   Slowly raise back up using your leg muscles. Switch legs to complete the set.  Once again, if you have knee pain, take a smaller step forward and don't lower as far.  Do 3 sets of 12 to 16 repetitions.
Another great exercise that targets the inner thighs is the plie.

To do this move start in a wide stance with toes pointed out. You need to keep your knees in line with your toes, so don't make your stance too wide.  Bend your knees and lower down into a plie making sure to keep your knees in line with toes, abs contracted and your back straight.  Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.  If your knees hurt, only lower down as far as is comfortable.  Push back to standing without locking the knees.  Do 3 sets of 12 to 16 repetitions.
These three simple moves can tone and strengthen your entire lower body and can be done with or without weights.  Try to get in at least two or three strength training sessions a weeks, and alternate which muscles are worked each session.  For example, work your upper body Monday, lower body Wednesday, and abs and core Friday.  And be sure to go at your own pace.  As you become stronger you can add repetitions, or add weights.  I've been doing these moves for years, and I can attest to the fact that they DO work.  Don't forget to add in some cardio, along with a healthy diet, and you'll have a beach ready body in no time!
Check back later for equipment free exercises for your upper body and abs.
Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

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