Summer is here and as the heat rises, so does our need to break out the shorts. What better way to stroll through the sun than with strong, toned legs? Here are some quick and simple exercises that will help keep your limbs in top shape:
Lunges are great for working several different muscle groups at once. Keeping your spine in an upright position, with your shoulders pulled back and your head facing straight ahead, take one step forward and drop your back knee as low to the ground as possible. Be sure to drop your hips enough so that both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
Lunges engage the hamstring, quads and glutes, which make for a great lower-body, three-for-one exercise.
2. Single leg glute bridge
Lie on a flat surface with your knees bent and both feet planted on the ground. As you raise one leg straight in the air, thrust your hips off of the ground, creating an arch in your lower back.
Be sure to drive through the heel of your foot in order to contract the hamstrings and glutes as you lift off of the ground.
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3. Low squat jumps
If you’re ready to feel the burn, these squat jumps will do the trick. Placing your feet hip-width apart, sink your backside as low as possible before jumping into the air. By keeping your knees bent and your jumps low, you are placing more tension on your quads, hamstrings and calves, igniting the fat-burning process as you continue the movement.
4. Side lunges
Take one large step to the right. As you bend your right knee, make sure it does not extend past your toe. Sink your hips toward the ground while keeping your opposite leg straight. Pay attention that you keep your spine as straight as possible by holding your chest up.
5. Sumo squats
The difference between a regular squat and a sumo squat is that a sumo squat starts in a much wider position. To begin, place your feet wider than your hips with your toes pointed outward. With or without a dumbbell, squat down as low as you can, keeping your back as straight as possible. This type of squat is very effective for engaging your adductor (inner thigh) muscles along with your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
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