Well it’s official. Summer is here in AZ and it’s HOT! If you’re like most of us, you are either getting out of town and headed to the beach, you’re staying in AZ and getting to the lakes, or you’re finding some time to get out to the pool (under the only shade tree available)!
No matter your destination, if you’re outside, you’ll probably be wearing a little less than you were a couple months ago. This may cause some of us to cringe because we may or may not want to show all that skin off!I am hopefully, no matter your size, age, weight, or gender you feel confident enough to strut your stuff while trying to stay cool.
I wanted to focus on exercises that target those “difficult” areas for most to add to your confidence. Keep in mind, nutrition is key! So while these workouts will target those areas, you’re not going to see more definition, gains or losses unless your eating is dialed in. Let’s break this down into lower body and upper body.
We’ll start on the lower body. Men, Yes this includes you too! Working your legs will not only strengthen and tone them, but when we work our legs we are releasing more human growth hormone and burning more calories than when we work upper (larger muscles worked=better results).
The following are my 5 favorite leg exercises. If you need help creating a leg workout, feel free to reach out!
- Conventional Deadlifts: This is an excellent lift that targets basically the entire posterior (back side). Working your hamstrings, glutes and up the back, this exercise is a must (unless you have back issues). Focus on keeping your core tight, feet a little wider than shoulder width and as using either a bar or dumbbells control the movement while breathing in on the way down and out at the top.
- Wide Stance Squats: A wider than shoulder width stance with toes out (more like a plié) will not only target your glutes, but will help open your hips and work the inner thigh a little more. When performing a squat you can use either a bar on your back, hold a weight goblet style or hold the weight down between your legs. No matter what you’re using, focus on your core being tight, chest up and shoulders back. Keep your chin in line with your chest and control the weight on the way down and then drive through the heels and glutes to stand (do not lock out your knees at the top).
- Glute Thrusts: This awesome booty builder will target your glutes while keeping pressure off the knees and quads. Lying perpendicular on a bench with your shoulders on the bench, lower your hips slowly and then driving up through your glutes squeezing at the top. Some individuals will either use a barbell, dumbbell or sandbag lying across their hips. Just be mindful getting into and out of position. I suggest a spotter.
- Walking lunges: Walking lunges are great, because you can use dumbbells, a bar or just body weight. You can vary the type, by raising your back leg up (to get glutes a little more), take a longer stride (focus more on stretching) or just go heavier (focus more on strength and building). No matter the type, you want to make sure your front knee does not come over your toes, you stay upright and you have control throughout.
- Kettle bell or Dumbbell swings: This metabolic (fat burning move) will not only get your heart rate up, but will target your glutes and core. I suggest you only bring the kettle bell or dumbbell up to parallel to the ground to assure you keep the emphasis in your core and glutes.
There are so many other awesome leg exercises and no “one size fits all”, but if you incorporate the above exercises into your program, you will see results. Make sure form is always correct and when able go up in weight or add more reps to ensure your muscles do not adapt.
Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information head to scottstrainingsystems.com or check him out on Instagram at @stsnation.