The lower body is basically made up of three parts: the gluteals, thighs, and legs. The gluteals are comprised of several muscles that attach to the hip joint: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest gluteal muscle and is usually referred to as the ‘butt’. The thighs are comprised of multiple muscles that attach to both the hip and knee joints. The muscles on the front of the thigh are collectively called the quadriceps while the muscles on the back of the thigh are called the hamstrings.
Finally, the muscles of the legs, which are most commonly targeted during weight training, include the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. The gastrocnemius muscle attaches to both the knee and ankle joints while the soleus only attaches to the ankle joint. These muscles, which are located on the back of the leg, are collectively referred to as the calves.
A strong and well-developed lower body is critical for good posture and overall balance. From a ‘vanity’ standpoint, a toned and sculpted lower body is crucial for sexy legs and a fabulous butt.
Now, to completely train your lower body you must perform weight training exercises that develop all its parts. Obviously, with so many different muscles comprising the lower body, this workout should be one of the most extensive during weight training. However, when it comes to training the lower body, many people find it very difficult to choose the most effective exercises and equipment.
When training the lower body, its best to maximize your workout time by first focusing on compound exercises that work the lower body at all joints (hip, knee, and ankle) so that you’re taxing ALL the muscles simultaneously. Such exercises include squats, lunges, and step-ups. You can then focus on specific exercises that target the butt (standing hip extensions and standing hip abductions), thighs (leg extensions and curls), and legs (standing and seated calf raises) separately. It’s all about maximizing your time.
In order to fully develop my lower body efficiently and effectively, here are six weight training exercises that I perform once a week:
For each of these exercises I use a light to heavy progression. In other words, I increase the amount of weight that I lift during each set with a goal of fatiguing my muscles within the allotted number of repetitions. Additionally, I perform all exercises for my lower body back to back with minimal rest between the sets.
In general, my workout plan is pretty intense but hopefully I’ve provided you with some good information and valuable strategies for incorporating lower body exercises into your own routine.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.
Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you. If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise. However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.