Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Adam Friedman gives you six moves to get your lower body in premium shape.
You may have seen the hashtag #Legday bouncing around Instagram, a reference to lower-body-focused workouts and muscular thighs. If you’re looking for moves that can help kick-start your own #Legday workout, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Adam Friedman gives you six moves that will strengthen your whole leg from calves to glutes. But Friedman points out that #Legday workouts aren’t just important for vanity’s sake. “Seventy percent of our weight is carried in our upper body, and it’s important to maintain the strength, power, flexibility and range of motion in our legs to support that weight,” he says. “Most people are sitting all day at work and their hips and butt are becoming numb. Focusing on the lower body and the legs at least once a week is going to wake everything up.”
Friedman also explains that even people who spend all day on their feet can benefit from #Legday, as it promotes the fundamentals of movement while aiding injury prevention: “People don’t realize how many low back issues are related to improper movement patterns in the lower body. That can translate from the low back to neck and shoulder issues. All kinds of issues start from the ground up.”
Here are the six moves:
Supine Bridge Hip Extension
2 sets of 10x
Lie on your back with your heels dug into the ground and your toes in the air. Lift your hips up until the line from your shoulders to your knees is straight, making sure your spine doesn’t twist to one side.
Adam’s extra tip: Focus on giving a strong contraction in the glutes, and tie in the lower abdominals to keep them engaged.
Kettle Bell Swing
3 sets of 20x, 1 minute rest between sets
Grab the kettle bell with both hands in front of you and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms loose as you bend with a straight back and your butt out, bringing the kettle bell between your legs, then swinging it forward.
Adam’s extra tip: Don’t use your upper body to swing the kettle bell. This move is really focused on driving through the hips, meaning the butt is driving the kettle bell and creating the momentum for the swing. Think hip hinge, not squat.
Kettle Bell Goblet Squats
3 sets of 10-15x, 1 minute rest between sets
With your feet shoulder-width apart, grab the kettle bell by the horns with both hands and raise it to your chin with your elbows at your sides. As you descend into a squat position, keep your back straight and your chest out, and let your elbows drop inside your knees until your butt is almost touching the ground. Take a deep breath and return to standing position.
Single Leg Bench Squats
3 sets of 12x, 1 minute rest between sets
Stand with your back to the bench, putting your foot on the bench with your toe touching it and your standing leg straight. Descend slowly for four or five seconds, bending your knee until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground and keeping your back straight. Hold for a beat, then rise back up slowly to your starting position.
Adam’s extra tip: I like to start with the non-dominant side first. Do three sets of one leg, then switch to the other one. The exercise is great for your quads as well as your glutes, while also promoting stability and balance.
Stationary Side Lunge
3 sets of 10x, 1 minute rest between sets
Start with your legs apart at least twice the width of your shoulders and your hands either on your hips or clasped under your chin. Keep one leg straight while bending the other knee and moving your body in that direction. The kneecap of the side you’re lowering down should be pointed straight ahead, in line with the second big toe. Then return to the starting position and go to the other side for one set.
Adam’s extra tip: Don’t allow the knee to drive past the toe. People end up being knee dominant, which puts pressure on the joint and can lead to injury.
Single Leg Calf Raise on Stair
3 sets of 20x, 1 minute rest between sets
Finally, Friedman suggests a simple exercise to complete #Legday. Place your foot on a stair so your shoe is one-half to one-third of the way on it, giving you flexibility to raise it up and down but with enough support so you feel stable and balanced. Tuck your other leg behind the one on the stair. Use your calf to lift your heel up as high as it will go, then lower it as far as you can to complete t