Powerful Lower Body Workout to Tone Your Legs



 

Legs glorious legs! How I love to work out my legs. Plies, squats or plyos, leg curls, lunges, kickbacks, dancing, hiking, skiing, battement’s, bicycle, running. I love my legs strong, I love my legs stretching.

 

I guess you can tell I am very fond of lower body workouts. From my lower abdominals to the tips of my toes, I will try just about anything, within reason of course. If you are someone who moans at the thought of leg day, or steers clear of any activity that requires leg strength, I am here to shed some light on the subject or maybe change your perspective on it.  And if you are someone who shares my love and enthusiasm for lower body workouts, then this is right up your ally.

 

From the moment we wake up and get out of bed to the time we say good night, our legs are a major player in our day. Some of us take our lower bodies for granted, until something happens to us. And then there are those of us who stretch from hip to toe before even getting out of the bed, waking our legs up and getting some blood flow going.

 

Start at the Beginning

 

First I suggest you go out and have fun. Find something active to fall in love with so that you eventually will have a goal to get better and stronger. Then you will start understand the need and want to train you lower body. If you are reading this, more than likely you have a Total Gym. LUCKY YOU!! Not only can you do squats and lunges, but you can do plyos, leg pulleys and more all on one machine! It will give you better function and more fun in the activity you are doing.

 

How do I compare?

First and foremost you should never compare your body to others. You have different experiences, different lives and genetics. Rather, you should look to others’ workouts to help you find your strength and growth. Based off of muscle and predisposed purpose, a man will always build differently than a woman. Strength will come easier for a man where flexibility and balance will come more easily for a woman. But don’t let that dampen your super -trength goals ladies, just look at some of the top Cross-fit women. They are pushing out some major weight and sometimes going toe-to-toe with the men. And men remember, with time and patience you too can stretch and balance.

 

So come join me…

Bare feet or shoes, get on your Total Gym and do this packed, fun lower body workout. I promise it will either put you in your place or show you new possibilities.

 

Exercises

Plyo’s: Level 6-8 with squat stand.

  • Lie down at the bottom of the glide board.
  • Place feet on the squat stand with legs together and parallel.
  • As you start to jump extend fully through your legs and feet. When you land, land soft with a good bent knee.
  • Try doing 10 reps.
  • Now with legs hip width 10 reps.
  • Legs in first position (heels together toes apart) 10 reps.
  • Legs in second position (legs open wide and turned out) 10 reps.
  • Then add them all together.
  • Legs together parallel/hip width parallel/first position/second position= 1 set, do 10!
  • Next land on your right foot and let your left leg extend off to the side as you jump to the other foot, tap your heels together then land on the left foot with your right leg out to the side.

 

Tips: If you are not used to doing plyos, take your time and make sure you place yourself on a level that is right for your strength. If you are at a difficult level and not ready, you can really hurt yourself. Pay close attention to the placement of your hips, knees and ankles. Also watch for your lower back, make sure that you are not arching too much with every jump. Pull in your abdominals and stay strong. Lastly BREATHE!! At first try to exhale with every extension, then when you get better with your breathing, allow your breath to be long so that you have 2 jumps with 1 round of breath.

 

Hamstring/Glute Leg Kick-Back/Extension and Small Leg Circles: Level 5-8, with Arm Pulley

  • Kick back: Standing on the right side of your Total Gym facing the tower
  • Take your right arm pulley and place your right foot in the handle.
  • Then standing on your right leg, place your hands at the top of the glide on each side and put your left knee in the middle of the glide board.
  • You should look like a 3 leg table, hip over knee, shoulders over hands, right leg extended of the side towards the ground.
  • As you bend your right knee start to flex your right foot (your right leg should now mirror your left leg).
  • Exhale, kick back your right leg extending it behind you at the same level as your hips.
  • Hips should be square and level.
  • Inhale, bend knee back to start.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Extension: On your 10th kick back keep your right leg straight.
  • Then lower your right leg and point your right foot until it is pointing towards the floor.
  • Keeping the right leg straight and foot pointed, start your extended leg lifts, bringing your leg up to the level of your hips.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Small leg circles: on your 10th leg lift keep your right leg behind you reaching your toe away from the crown of your head.
  • Start making little circles clockwise with your leg – Repeat 10 times.
  • Reverse counter clockwise – Repeat 10 times.

 

Tips: Key things will be your shoulder placement, shoulder blades back and down. Keeping a long neck with you head in line with your spine. Abdominals in, keep your core strong. Lastly keep the hips in line and square especially, the leg that is on the glideboard. Try not to sink into your hip, stay lifted. Think long, long, long!

 

Second Position Plie with Moving Glideboard: Level 2-3 no Squat Stand

  • Standing at the bottom of your total gym with your left side facing the tower.
  • Place your right heel against the silver metal base and turn your foot and leg slightly out.
  • Then place your left leg 2 feet up from the bottom of the glide board (leg turned out).
  • Slowly open the glide board, bending your knees until you are in second position (legs out to sides knees bent over feet).
  • Keep your inner thighs engaged so that the glide board doesn’t move.
  • Anchor your tail bone down and press your legs back.
  • Keep your upper body tall and extended (shoulders over ribs, ribs over hips).
  • Pull your lower abdominals in try to knit your ribs together.
  • Arms can be where ever you feel balanced.
  • Keep equal pressure on both feet and maintaining second position.
  • Move the glide board up by extending from your knee to your foot.
  • Then bend the knee back 9 – 10 times.
  • Next do the same thing but with your right leg, keeping your left leg stable – Repeat 10 times.
  • Next move both legs, extending them from knee to foot then back to 90 – Repeat 10 times.
  • Turn around and do it on the other side.

 

Tips: Balance, Balance, Balance. Only bend your knees as much as you can balance. As you start to move you will notice how much you are using your inner thighs, abdominals and glutes. Again, think long neck, reaching the crown of your head to the ceiling. Last but not least, try ending this session with a good side lunge stretch and single leg stretch to treat your lower body after working so hard! It will make a big difference if you stretch after, I promise!!!

 

Until next time

Melissa Muñiz

Melissa L. Muniz is a certified Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, Choreographer, Actor, Model and full time Mom! She has spent over a decade traveling the world studying traditional dance such as Flamenco in Spain and cultural dance in Indonesia to name but a few. She has toured with Nickelodeon as a dance performer and actor and starred in several music videos and movies.Melissa had the opportunity to train teachers for the opening of the first Pilates Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been working with Total Gym as a Gravity Master Trainer since 2002. She has loved the inspiration and support that Total Gym gives and lives by. Melissa now resides with her family in Atlanta GA, teaching at a Wellness Center where she infuses life, happiness and understanding of the body, to those with an open heart and mind.

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