The best lower body exercises are the ones that can be done anywhere with little or no equipment. Being single with no kids may allow for wasted time in the gym doing twelve sets per lower body part, but once in the real world of spouse, kids and job, those two hour gym visits are history. The good news is this should be a welcome change because the old-school bodybuilder, weights and machine type workout routines can do more damage in the long run as compared to a smart, properly structured lower body exercise routine.
Exercise machines and weights will always have their place in fitness – but they are not the only way to achieve a strong, well toned lower body. The right selection of lower body exercises can produce a sufficient training stimulus to bring about desired changes, continuous progress and visible results. As health clubs and fitness centers are filled with an endless amount of exercise machines and weight training gear, it is in their best interest to promote weight and machine type workout programs. Naturally, members develop a dependency on these types of workouts because they don’t learn any alternative exercise methods. Some fitness experts argue that workouts with machines and weights are the only path to true lower body improvements. The reality is, nothing can be further from the truth.
The problems with this mind-set range from the ‘more is better’ syndrome to the ‘I got out of my routine’ excuse. To develop a strong, fit and defined lower body your choice of exercises must be realistic for long term adherence and they must consist of exercises that can be done at home or while on the road if you are traveling. As a career personal trainer and fitness consultant I’ve had the opportunity to work with many people at various stages of life. The people who maintain long term fitness success are the ones who structure their lower body exercise routines so that they are ‘portable’ – meaning if they don’t have a gym available to them – it’s not going to prevent them from getting their lower body exercise session in. This ties into one of the essential elements of fitness success – consistency. Staying on a regular exercise schedule will yield the best long term results. Starting and stopping a routine that is unrealistic will yield harmful results – this is a fact.
Lower body workouts consisting of body weight leg exercises produce an incredible amount of natural strength while providing gender specific improvements in muscular development and appearance. While women seek more of a toning and firming effect, men seek more of a lean muscle building effect with muscle group definition. An old fitness myth exists that has people believing that a woman will develop muscles like a man if she follows the same type of lower body exercise program. The exercise program does not dictate this result. It’s the gender/genetic differences of the male and female DNA that dictate the specific results that men and women derive from well rounded, and properly structured lower body exercises. Not the type or intensity of the workout routine itself.
Yes, we sometimes see women who look like male bodybuilders or power-lifters – but these abnormal looks can almost always be traced back to some method of pharmaceutical enhancement. For example, taking anabolic steroids or growth hormone to develop as much muscle mass as possible is one way for a woman to lose the fit, sexy and feminine look. Nothing against them – but they do not represent the definition of fitness – especially for women.
No matter if you are male or female, the benefits of properly structured lower body exercises that do not rely on the confines of a gym or fitness center can give you all the results you could ever want, in a program that can easily be followed for life. After all, isn’t that what true fitness is about?
Don’t get rid of your health club membership – especially if you enjoy doing some of your lower body workouts there. But it would be wise for you to develop a body-weight leg exercise routine for you to follow at home or while you are ‘on the road’ – so you don’t develop over-training injuries or find yourself missing several weeks of exercise sessions because you were traveling or just ‘didn’t have time to get to the gym’.