I get a lot of messages saying things like “my upper (or lower) body is fine, it’s just my lower (or upper) body that’s the problem. How do I fix that?” When Jonathan suggested lower body workouts for me, I had the thought that all you guys that hate your thighs and / or butt are probably having right now: why would I want to ADD bulk to my thighs and / or butt? Are you insane?

The reality is: it’s not one part of your body that’s the problem. You need to maintain some level of muscle over your entire body. There’s a reason bodybuilders do nothing but eat and work out – and that’s because muscle burns calories like crazy. Build some muscle in those large lower body muscles such as your quads and glutes and let them burn off that entire pack of salted caramel Tim Tams you “just had to have” (hey, we’ve all been there).

The reality is: it’s not one part of your body that’s the problem. You need to maintain some level of muscle over your entire body.

Please note for any of the exercises listed below: With any new movement please always start lighter than what you think you can handle. Start light and build from there. Always be careful and take your health into consideration.

1. ONE LEGGED SQUATS (PISTOL SQUATS)

The one-legged squat, also known as the pistol squat, is a body-weight exercise that can help build power and stability. At first when I began to do them about a month and a half ago I was like “There is no way I can do these so called pistol squats” and I actually had a lot of trouble first time around! I think there was a lot of nervous laughter when I told Jonathan “I can’t do it”. Since then I have worked out a technique that works for me and man does it burn. I love two-legged squats, but often they can actually cause an imbalance to your muscle development, due to fact you normally favour one leg without even knowing. The great thing about single-legged squat is they help each leg develop and strengthen separately and equally.

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HOW TO

Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. If it your first time doing Pistol squats you can also use one arm to hold a pole. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. (A) Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can to the ground. (B) Pause and count to eight slowly, then push your body back to the starting position.

Repeat for other leg

REPS

A set here consists of holding your left leg up for eight seconds, then your right. You want to do 2 sets.

MUSCLES IT WORKS

Hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves.

The great thing about the single-legged squat is that they help each leg develop and strengthen separately and equally

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2. FOUR VARIATIONS OF BURPEES

I hear the sound of girls and guys cringing everywhere. If you have that mindset you will never learn to be able to do certain exercises, as your mind will always have control over you. Instead, I suggest you modify an exercise you dislike and learn to love it. Burpees in particular can be easily modifiable to make them easier or harder. The below are some variations you may not have considered.

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BURPEES

  1. Standing – your feet should be shoulder width apart. Now, lower your body into a squatting position, placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Jump feet back simultaneously (in push-up position). Support your body weight with your hands.
  3. Drop your chest to the floor
  4. Press yourself back up while jumping your feet back to your base position
  5. Fully extend your hips while jumping and clapping above your head

HALF BURPEES

  1. Standing – your feet should be shoulder width apart. Now, lower your body into a squatting position, placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Jump feet back simultaneously (in push-up position). Support your body weight with your hands.
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2

BOX JUMP BURPEES

  1. Drop chest to floor with feet jumping back.
  2. Jump feet back to standing while pushing your torso off the floor
  3. Fully extend your hips to standing position
  4. Jump onto box, bench, or object and come to standing position on top of box with fully extended hips
  5. Jump or step down to the floor

WEIGHTED BURPEES

EQUIPMENT YOU NEED

Dumbells

To turn the burpee into a strength training exercise, just add weight. Choose a weight that allows you to perform anywhere from six to twelve repetitions. To do it, hold the dumbbells at your sides and perform step one of a normal burpee, sinking into a squat.

REPS

15-20 of which ever variation you decide on – However, If you are a beginner or are out of shape, start off with 6 burpees in a row.

MUSCLES IT WORKS

Burpees use a large number of muscles in the motion of flowing through a squat, a single pushup, a jump and then repeating the motions.

Muscle burns calories like crazy.

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3. FARMERS WALK (CARRY)

I laugh every time I see this exercise written and think to myself “couldn’t they have thought up a better name for it?” Please note: you don’t need to be a farmer to perform this exercise, but it is preferable. While the name itself is a little unusual, the Farmers walk is great for overall full body strength, local muscular endurance and conditioning.

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EQUIPMENT YOU NEED

2 Dumbbells or Kettlebells at 5KG each

HOW TO

Grab a pair of dumbbells, 5KG each is a good amount. Hold them at your sides, at arm’s length. Raise your heels and walk forward for 60 seconds.

Repeat

REPS

5 sets at 60 Seconds each.

MUSCLES IT WORKS

Calves, quadriceps and hamstrings.

4. GOBLET SQUAT

Goblet squats are the goods. They get your legs looking great as well as toning that butt of yours as well. Anyone with access to weights, arms and legs can master this, so that probably mean you.

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EQUIPMENT YOU NEED

One dumbell 2-5KG

HOW TO

Hold a dumbbell vertically next to your chest, with both hands cupping the dumbbell head, I guess you could imagine that it’s a heavy goblet (hence the name). Squat down until thighs are parallel to floor. Keep back straight, bend and move hips backward to keep knees above feet. Return, keep knees slightly flexed.

Repeat.

REPS

4 sets of 10

MUSCLES IT WORKS

Glutes, hamstrings, biceps

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5. WAITER CARRY

This type of carry is slightly more demanding than the farmers walk (carry) because it requires additional shoulder strength and mobility

Sore abdominal muscles are my thang. I love that feeling after a big ab workout. It just feels so good. NOTE: There isn’t even the slightest hint of sarcasm there, I am telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you love that feeling too, then you’ll love these guys! The waiter’s carry is an overhead carry. This type of carry is slightly more demanding than the Farmers Walk (carry) because it requires additional shoulder strength and mobility

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EQUIPMENT YOU NEED

2 X Dumbbells / Kettlebells 2-5kg each

HOW TO

  1. Squeeze the dumbbell tightly and push press into position
  2. Lock the weight over your head
  3. Squeeze abs and glutes throughout entire movement
  4. Maintain neutral pelvis

REPS

Start with a fairly short distance and focus on using proper form at first. 5 Sets each are is a good place to start.

MUSCLES IT WORKS

Calves, quadriceps and hamstrings, biceps, triceps

NOW TO MIX AND MATCH

To turbocharge your workout try three or four of these together. Do what you feel you can achieve. This is just an example of what I think are great exercises.

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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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