My go-to leg + glute exercises
When I first started going to the gym and wanted to define and tone my legs, I was pretty stumped. Squats and the leg press were pretty obvious choices and perhaps as a warm up I could use the elliptical or bike? But what after that? Not only did I want a variety of lower body exercises so that I didn't get bored when going to the gym but it's also important to add variety to your workout (Including no. of sets, reps and weight you use) to keep your muscles guessing and avoid hitting a plateau.
After researching, trialling and watching countless YouTube video's, I have come up with a pretty solid list of great lower body exercises that I incorporate into my leg day. Each day that I go to the gym, I try to think about what I did the previous leg day and choose different movements of focus on different muscle groups.
-Side to sides on box or bench
--Forward and back lunges over a step
-Step up kick-backs on bench/step
-Sumo squat with dumbbell or barbell
-Stationary Barbell split squats (Barbell between legs)
-Leg press three ways (regular feet, toes pointed out, high feet)
Glute activation/focused movements
-Glute kick-back on floor or with cables
-Glute squat (On knees with barbell on back)
-Hip thrust with weight
-Standing hip abduction (With plate resting on glute or with cables/bands)
-Crab walk (With resistance bands)
-Reverse flutter kicks
-Single leg hip thrust
-Glute kick-back side to side
This list is not extensive! You can alter any of the movements again by adding bands, plates or pulses to increase difficulty. Also, with the exception of the machine based exercises many of these can be adapted and used at home. If you're trying to have a balanced lower body, it is important that you integrate a number of movements into your leg day routine as different exercises target different muscles (Did you know that your glutes are actually three muscles?).
I have been participating in the #Gymshark66 challenge to smash out goals that will make my life better in 2018. One of my goals was to grow my glutes (Something I have been working on for a year and a half with limited success). Increasing my weight and sets and using a variety of the exercises listed above, I am hoping to do just that and join the booty gang!