A Spring Workout For Your Lower Body

A Spring Workout For Your Lower Body

Don't just do it for the beach, do it for yourself.

As spring approaches, many of us are becoming more concerned with our so-called "beach bodies."

While being conscious of your shape and figure can be a great way to engage in a healthier lifestyle, being too aware of your physicality may become detrimental. In a world where it is easy to compare yourself to people through social media and other outlets, it is critical to remember that every body is beautiful and that a workout while targeting a certain aesthetic goal should still remain focused on overall health and wellness.

Reminder; you should always start your workout by stretching and rolling out for at least 10 minutes.

Here are my key tips and tricks to gaining lower body muscle:

1. If you want to purchase supplements, then BCAAs are the way to go to build and keep muscle.

2. Ankle weights are easy to find at Walmart or Target.

3. Resistance bands are a great tool to incorporate; I got mine from Amazon.

4. Make sure you eat a lot of protein (Greek yogurt, protein shakes, lean chicken breast, unsalted nuts, etc.) If you don’t get enough calories and protein, then you won’t be able to truly build muscle and retain it.

5. If you have a more difficult time building lower body muscle or gaining weight, then maybe consider creatine, but be aware that it is a dehydrator.

6. Limit your cardio (but do not stop altogether, it is good for your heart). If you want to build muscle and create curves, good cardio to include are the stairs (try doing two at a time if you can and try additional safe alternative moves).

7. Squeeze your booty at the top of a squat and during the hip thrusts, etc. to get most gains. It relates to the mind to muscle connection in which you think about where you want to build and the muscles being targeted during each exercise.

You should begin with glute activation exercises so your more weighted work will be effective.

The best glute activation workouts are:

1. Jumping Squats: I usually do 40 of these.

2. Hip Thrusts: I usually do these with a resistance band and do 50 without weight and then do one more set with a 25 pound dumbbell or higher.

3. Side Lying Clams: I use my resistance band for these and do 50 per side, I put the band on my upper thighs.

4. Donkey Kick Backs: I use leg weights for these. I do 50 per leg.

5. Fire Hydrants: use the ankle weights if you have them. I do four sets of 12 per leg.

6. Crab Walk: placing the band above your ankles and staying low until burn out.

7. Crossover Step-Up: I use 30 lbs. and do four sets of 12 per leg.

More exercises to do with machines or otherwise:

1. Squats: Many variations are good, but start with basics and be sure to get your FORM down before adding weight. I use dumbbells to do mine if I don’t want to do it with the barbell and if I use dumbbells, I use two 35 lbs. weights and try to do six sets of 12. You can add a pulse motion at the bottom to make it harder and gradually build from a lower weight over time.

2. Lunges: These also can be done with many variations. Jump squats are great, but I usually do a bouncing squat with 25 or 30 lbs. 30 times per leg. Then I do walking lunges with weight and this will depend on how much space you have for reps.

3. Leg press: I do high weight (full body weight or higher) leg press six sets of 8 or 12 depending on the weight and then do single leg presses at 25 lbs. Make sure you don’t completely straighten your legs when doing these because that is how you get injured.

4. Abduction Machines: You should do both variations and see what weight is most comfortable with four sets of 12.

5. Dead Lifts: Again, make sure you get form down. I do my same pattern of four sets of 12, so adjust the weight whether using dumbbells or a barbell to what feels right for you.

Finally, I burn out and try to do 10-20 minutes on the StairMaster, taking two steps at time in fat burn mode.

You can do the above workout or variations of it two to three times a week and focus on upper body and cardio on your other gym days. It is all about balance, safety and self-love no matter where you are in your fitness journey.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.


I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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