I’ve packed today’s blog with lower-body moves that will help your buns, legs and thighs look toned from every angle (yes, even when they’re wrapped in spandex). Get ready to have every muscle in your lower body feeling lifted, shaped and defined!

Move #1: Flying Reindeer

Kathy Smith Lunge with Tricep Kickback

What it does:

  • This version of the lunge is an excellent sculptor for the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps and core. This is a true functional move because it combines so many muscle groups in one movement.

How to do it:

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step your left foot directly behind you, taking a wide stance, and bend your legs, lowering your torso down into a lunge. Be sure and maintain that core stability to prevent injury.
  • While in lunge position, keep your shoulders over your hips, back knee slightly bent, front knee in alignment with your front toes, shoulders back and down.
  • Feel your weight in your right (front) heel as you push yourself to standing.
  • As you return to standing, do a tricep kickback: Reach your arms back behind you and extend, feeling a squeeze in the tricep.

How to get the most out of your lunge:

When doing a lunge, lower your body until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. For increased effectiveness in your lunges, also try out these four tips:

  • Keep your shoulders over your hips
  • Slightly bend your back knee
  • Keep your front knee in alignment with your front toes
  • Feel your weight in your front heel as you push yourself to standing

Move #2: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Kathy Smith's Curtsy Squat With Cross-Punch

 

How to do it:

  • Rest dumbbells on your hips as you place your left foot behind you. Instead of stepping directly back, the left foot should move diagonally back, with the back knee bending down directly outside the right foot.
  • Fire up the core muscles as you squat down with the right leg, feeling the emphasis on your right glute (weight placed firmly in the right heel) as the left foot lightly supports you.
  • As you return to standing, bring the left foot forward, landing with a wide stance.
  • Punch the right hand across your body, toward the left wall, allowing your right foot to rotate as your torso twists to the left, engaging your right glute.

Beginners:

  • Remember, it’s best to master the form of the exercise before adding the resistance challenge of dumbbells.

Advanced:

  • Keep the majority of your weight in the front foot, especially the heel, and use the back foot mainly for balance.

Move #3: Partridge In A Pear Tree

sumo-squat-with-cross-chop

How to do it:

  • Take a wide stance with your toes turned slightly out, holding dumbbells pressed together at chest level.
  • Lower down into a sumo squat, making sure those abs are engaged, weights hanging straight down in front of you.
  • As you push back up to standing, feel the inner thighs, glutes and core muscles working together to control the movement.
  • At the same time, bring the weights toward your chest with a bicep curl.
  • Rotate to your right: Keeping your wide stance and core engaged, feel your weight planted in the right foot and let the left foot pivot as your torso rotates to the right. You should feel as if this entire movement is driven by obliques.
  • Bring the weights down toward the ground in a controlled chopping motion, just behind your right hip. Squeeze your left glute as you chop.
  • Curl the weights back toward the chest as you rotate the torso back to your starting position.

How to get the most out of this move:

To tighten your backside, squats are key! Switch up your routine by changing the width of of your squat to a wider stance. This simple change is an all-around lower body tightener, working the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, as well as the inner and outer thighs.


Move #4: Sleigh Ride

Kathy Smith Squat and Reach

 

How to do it:

  • Standing with feet hip-width apart, stabilize the midsection and imagine knitting the ribcage in by squeezing your abdominals throughout the movement. Squat down as if you’re going to sit in a chair behind you, sinking the hips back and keeping the knees parallel to the toes. With your weight in your heels, use your glutes and core to push you back up to standing.
  • As you stand, reach your arms up over your head and lift up on your toes.

How to get the most out of this move:

When performing squats, proper form should be in the forefront of your mind. Squatting with good form can make the difference between fast, safe, and great-looking results, and frustration (and sometimes even injury). To get the most benefit from your squat, always remember to shift your weight into your heels and slightly lift your toes off the floor.

Here’s how to do a perfect squat:

  1. To begin, grab a chair and position yourself in front of it.
  2. Sit down, just brushing your butt on the end of the chair and stand back up.
  3. Repeat and keep your knees and weight back
  4. The further and lower you get down in the squat, the more you’ll feel it in your butt.
  5. Click here for a video demonstration

ADVANCED Move…#5 Ladies Dancing

dancers-pose-with-flye

1. Begin standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Breathe slowly.

2. Press your weight into your right foot. Lift your left leg as you lower your torso, bringing your body parallel to the ground.

3. Flex your left foot and reach through your heel, as if you’re pressing a wall behind you.

4. Keep the muscles of both legs engaged.

5. Slowly lift your arms parallel to the floor, and return back down. Repeat five times. You may need to lower the hip of your raised leg slightly in order to bring your hips parallel to your mat.

6. To release, exhale as you softly lower your left foot back to the floor. Repeat the pose on the opposite side.

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