25 Lower Body Exercises

Total Body Extension

  • Start in the standing position as if you were going to do a bodyweight squat.
  • Dip down quickly into a quarter squat and swing your arms behind you by your sides.
  • Explode up and extend your body onto your toes, raising your arms overhead.
  • Control the descent back and in one movement return to the dip before exploding back up again.

This is a non-impact replacement for jumping.

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Side to Side Jump

  • Stand with your knees bent, abs braced, and hips back.
  • Jump laterally and land with your knees bent and hips back to absorb the landing forces in your muscles.
  • Repeat to the other side with as little rest as possible between jumps.

Always land with your knees bent.

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Squat Jumps

  • Stand in the start position for the Prisoner Squat.
  • Squat down and jump up as high as possible, keeping your hands behind your head.
  • Bend your knees when you land to absorb the force with your muscles.

As soon as you land, jump up again.

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Split Lunge Jump

  • Start in the bottom of a split squat position. Your front thigh should be parallel to the floor, your torso upright, and your abs braced.
  • Jump up explosively and switch leg positions in the air. Your back leg becomes the front leg, and vice versa. Absorb the landing with your muscles. Keep your abs braced and torso upright.

Alternate sides without resting between sides.

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Split Shuffle

  • Stand with one foot forward and the other back in a split stance.
  • Raise your opposite arm and bring it forward. Take your same arm back.
  • Quickly switch your arm and foot position, almost as if you were running in place.
  • Continue to alternate, doing this exercise as rapidly as possible.

It’s tricky…and requires some co-ordination.

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SHELC (Supine Hip Extension Leg Curl)

  • Lie on your back with the soles of your feet on a medium-sized Stability Ball.
  • Brace your abs, and contract your glutes (butt muscles) as if you were squeezing something between your cheeks. Bridge your hips up by contracting your glutes.
  • Keep your abs braced and contract your hamstrings and slowly curl the ball back towards your hips while keeping your hips bridged.
  • Pause and slowly return the ball to the start position while keeping the hips bridged.
  • Pause again and drop your hips. Then bridge them back up and repeat the sequence.

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Bodyweight Split Squat

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step forward with your one leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  • Press the front of your back foot into the ground and use it to help keep your balance. The back knee should also be bent.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.
  • Push up to the upright position, but don’t step back. Stay in a split-squat stance.

Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

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Strap Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place the instep of one foot in the strap handle. Step forward with the other foot, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.

Stay in a split-squat stance and perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

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Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbells in each hand if needed.
  • Place the instep of one foot on a bench. Step forward with the other foot, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.
  • Push up to the upright position. Stay in a split-squat stance.

Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

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Bulgarian Split Squat from a Deficit

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbells in each hand if needed.
  • Place the laces of the back foot on a bench.
  • Step forward with the other foot, taking a slightly larger than normal step and place it on a 6-inch riser.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.
  • Push up to the upright position. Stay in a split-squat stance.

Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

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Split Squat with Front Foot Elevated

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step forward with your right leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step, and put it on a 6-inch riser.
  • Press the front of your left foot into the ground and use it to help keep your balance. The left knee should also be bent.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Push up to the upright position, but don’t step back. Stay in a split-squat stance.

Bulgarian • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat. • Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

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Bodyweight Squat

  • Stand with your feet just greater than shoulder-width apart.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your hips backward and “sit back into a chair”. Make your hips go back as far as possible.
  • Squat as deep as possible, but keep your low back tensed in a neutral position.
  • Don’t let your lower back become rounded.

Push with your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

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Close-Stance BW (Bodyweight) Squat

  • Stand with your feet NARROWER than hip-width apart.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your hips backward and “sit back into a chair”. Make your hips go back as far as possible.
  • Squat as deep as possible, but keep your low back tensed in a neutral position.
  • Don’t let your lower back become rounded.

Push with your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

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Wall Squat with Stability Ball

  • Stand with your feet just greater than shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a Stability Ball in between your back and the wall.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your hips backward and “sit back into a chair”. Squat as deep as possible, but keep your low back tensed in a neutral position.
  • Don’t let your lower back become rounded.

Push with your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

wall1wall2

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Y-Squat

  • Hold your hands over your head in a “Y” formation at all times.
  • Keep your upper back and shoulders tensed throughout the exercise.
  • Stand with your feet just greater than shoulder-width apart.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your hips backward and “sit back into a chair”. Make your hips go back as far as possible.
  • Squat as deep as possible, but keep your low back tensed in a neutral position.
  • Don’t let your lower back become rounded.
  • Push with your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

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Prisoner Squat

  • Stand with your feet just greater than shoulder-width apart.
  • Clasp your hands behind your head. Keep your elbows back and shoulder blades pulled together to work the upper back.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your hips backward and “sit back into a chair”. Make your hips go back as far as possible.
  • Squat as deep as possible, but keep your low back tensed in a neutral position.
  • Do not round your lower back.

Push with your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

prison1prison2

 

1-Leg Squat & Pistol

  • Stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart.
  • Pick one foot off the ground and extend that foot forward.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Extend your arms forward or to the sides to increase your balance.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your butt back and “sit back as if you were sitting on a chair”. Squat slowly and focus on balance.
  • Squat until your thigh is parallel to the floor, but keep your lower back flat.
  • Push with your buttocks, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

Complete all the given repetitions for one leg and then switch.

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1-Leg Squat on Bench

  • Stand on the end of a bench with one foot and let the other hang down.
  • Push your hip back and squat as low as you can.

Contract your glutes and hamstrings to push back up to the start position.

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Strap-Assisted 1-Leg Squat

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart. Grab the strap handles and lean back.
  • Pick one foot off the ground and extend that foot forward.
  • Contract your glutes, brace your abs and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Start the movement at the hip joint. Push your butt back and .sit back as if you were sitting on a chair.. Squat slowly and focus on balance.
  • Squat as low as possible, but keep your lower back flat.
  • Push with your buttocks, hamstrings, and quadriceps to return to the start position.

Complete all the given repetitions for one leg and then switch.

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Deep Step-up

  • Stand to the side of a bench facing the bench. Place one foot on top of the bench and move the back leg slightly further away from the bench.
  • Drop your hips down so your front hip is below your front knee – putting you almost in a lunge position.
  • From that deep position, contract the glutes, quads and hamstrings of the front leg to bring you to a standing position on the step.
  • Lower yourself slowly and repeat. Do all reps for one side and then switch.

Do this on a non-slip surface to prevent the bench from sliding.

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Step-Up

  • Stand facing a bench. Place one foot on the bench and the other on the floor.
  • Hold dumbells in hand if needed.
  • With your abs braced and glutes squeezed, start the movement by pushing through the bench foot to lift the body up to the standing position.
  • Lower your body under control. Pause briefly at the bottom and repeat.

Complete all reps for one side before changing legs.

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Elevated Reverse Lunges

  • Stand on a 6-8 inch elevation with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your abs, and contract your glutes (butt muscles) as if you were squeezing something between your cheeks.
  • Step backward with one leg, resting the toe on the ground.
  • Squat straight down with the front leg supporting the body weight. Lower yourself until your front thigh is parallel to the floor.

Return to the start position by pushing with the muscles of the front leg. Focus on pushing with glutes and hamstrings. Alternate sides.

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Elbow to Instep Lunge

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head.
  • Step forward with your lead leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  • Keep your back toe on the ground and use it to help keep your balance. The back knee should also be bent.
  • Lower your body until your lead thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Rotate your upper body so the elbow on your lead side comes down and inside the knee. Don’t round your low back too much, but try to get low.
  • Don’t overdo it at first, this gives a strong stretch through the groin.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.

Push with your lead leg to return to the starting position and alternate sides.

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Diagonal Lunge

  • Step diagonally at a 45o angle with one leg and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your torso upright.

Return to the top by contracting the quadriceps, groin, and hip extensors of lead leg.

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Prisoner Forward Lunge

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped behind your head.
  • Step forward with one leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  • Keep your back toe on the ground and use it to help keep your balance. The back knee should also be bent.
  • Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your upper body upright and your lower back flat.

Push back to the start position.

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