Viewing entries tagged
leg day

6 Glute Activation Exercises For A Perky Booty

6 Glute Activation Exercises For A Perky Booty

Squatting and not seeing the results? There's a reason behind it. One of the questions I get asked frequently from ladies is, ‘Why isn’t my butt growing?I squat several times a day, but I do not see any changes’. The majority of these issues boil down to glute activation: not properly activating your glutes before you go into an intense leg day workout. 

Creative lunge variations you never thought about, but should try - #ChallengeMe Day 5

Creative lunge variations you never thought about, but should try - #ChallengeMe Day 5

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You'll often hear that one does not simply walk after leg day in a foreboding and ominous tone. Leg day inspires abundant amounts of sarcastic e-cards, fitness memes, and it makes you cry if you're commuting to work by foot the next day. A tried-and-true staple of great a leg workout is the lunge. It is, in its most basic form, a stationary bodyweight exercise that strengthens several muscle groups at once and elevates your heart rate at the same time.

How lunges help you

Deep lunges primarily work your glutes and your hamstrings, whereas shallower lunges will really target the quadriceps in your thighs. Because lunges exert more pressure on one leg, other muscle groups come into play as your calves, your core, and your back work overtime to stabilize your body. If you're training for a big race, lunges will help you to run harder, better, faster, stronger by challenging your balance, strength, and range of motion.

How to perform a legit lunge

Maintain proper form to get the full benefits from lunges and to minimize exercise-related injuries. Step forward with one leg and create a 90 degree angle with both knees. The front knee should be in line with your front ankle and it shouldn't extend past your feet (think the corner of a square rather than the corner of a rhombus). Push your front leg off the ground and step your feet back together in a standing position, leading the movement with your other leg.

Creative lunge variations that you can try today

Once you've mastered the basic front lunge, back lunge, and side lunge, you're ready to move on to weighted lunges and plyometric lunges. These 5 creative lunge variations will make you enjoy leg day a lot more than you used to. Have fun walking up a flight of stairs the next day!

Plyometric jumping lunges with a squat

Begin in a standing position. Extend your front foot and bend your knees to form a straight line with your ankles, lowering your body down into a front lunge. Jump vertically, switching your front foot and your back foot so that you come into a lunge on the other side. Land softly as you do so. Next, jump your feet to your sides and lower down into a squat. Perform the complete movement with a jumping lunge for each leg, then squat in between.

A video posted by Debbie (@debbie.hit) on

Back lunges with a raised arm extension, dumbbell sumo squats.

Step one foot back and lower your body down into a back lunge, raising your opposite arm overhead as you do so. Carry a light weight in your raised hand for an extra challenge. When you're coming out of the lunge, step your foot to the side of your body and create a wide-legged stance. Lower down into a squat immediately, bringing the weight between your legs.

https://instagram.com/p/3ilICFq8bk

Lunges with water-filled bars. A stability exercise.

If you have a water-filled bar handy, this will help you to improve the balance and strength of your front lunge. The dynamic motion of the water adds a greater challenge than a solid metal weight would.

https://instagram.com/p/3esoPWhI8h

Lunges with knee-ups

Step one foot back and lower your body down into a back lunge. Push your back knee up and off the ground, pressing it to your body before you step it back into a lunge position again. Do this with weights to intensify your workout. Perform this exercise on a smith machine like PumpUp member @tinytinne demonstrates below if you'd like to add more weight.

https://instagram.com/p/sb8BPPPLCr/

Weighted overhead lunges

Get creative with these and make sure you don't arch your back. If you're tired of regular weighted lunges, bring the weights overhead to give a bonus burn to your core, shoulders, and traps. No weights? Make sure you have a firm grip of whatever (reasonably dense and heavy) object you have on hand: textbooks, camping bags, or dictionaries!

https://instagram.com/p/0FhAvGQolR/

Loved these creative lunge variations? A great general rule of thumb is to do 3 sets of 12 lunges per leg. Earn 30 points for every set of 12 lunges if you're participating in our June #ChallengeMe series! Let us know which creative lunge variations you liked best in the comments below!

5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

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Let's get down to business to defeat the buns. You don't need a gym to get a full body workout. You might not even need equipment! Bodyweight squats achieve just that: it's a compound exercise that, when performed properly, exerts most major muscle groups. Here are 5 bodyweight squats that you should try today:
The deep squat
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When you’re treading in shallow water, your range of motion is fairly limited in comparison to when you’re swimming in deeper water. The same rings true for squats. By lowering your squat past your knees, you’ll be activating more muscles and burn more calories. Don’t sweat it: deep bodyweight squats won’t impact your knees any more than regular squats will. Weighted deep squats might even be more effective at increasing strength than parallel squats. Keep your weight in the heels and balls of your feet and make sure that your back isn’t overarched, ensuring that your knees don’t extend past your toes.
The prisoner squat
prisoner squats
Image via GymRa
Make your squats more challenging by placing your hands behind your head. Your body will work harder to stabilize itself throughout the movement, relying less on momentum and more on muscle control. The same rules apply: ground your feet, keep your knees in line with your ankles and maintain good posture throughout the movement.
The plié squat
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It’s high time to work your thighs. The plié squat specifically targets your quads, inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Begin with your legs in a stance slightly wider than your shoulders and turn your feet about 45 degrees outward. Load the weight unto your heels and squat straight down, keeping your knees in line with your ankles. For an extra challenge, hold a weight in between your legs as you perform these bodyweight squats.
The jump squat
Jump squats cosmopolitan
Make sure you have good basic squat mechanics before you perform this plyometric move. Your knees shouldn't cave in and your chest should be higher than your hips. Lower down into a squat and jump vertically. When you land, decelerate so that you don’t put too much pressure on your joints. Make your landing slow and controlled and land through your heel. Use your arms to help propel yourself when you're starting out. Place them behind your head for an extra challenge. Clap your feet together while jumping to make the move more tricky.
The pistol squat
Pistol squat
While squats are challenging in themselves, pistol squats take difficult to an entirely different meaning. Gradual practice is necessary before you’ll be able to perform a full one-legged squat. When perfected, these bodyweight squats can help you to improve your strength, stability and balance. Keep your arms parallel to the floor, raise one leg with your foot flexed, and lower down slowly. Hold the position for a moment, then stand back up.
This article about bodyweight squats is part of a series of posts for #ChallengeMe: PumpUp's series of daily mini-challenges to keep you motivated. Check out the full challenge here. 

A killer 3 move, no-equipment leg and butt workout

A killer 3 move, no-equipment leg and butt workout

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The gym can wait. If you're short on time and equipment, try this awesome no-equipment leg and butt workout from PumpUp member @fitmissrach. Get it right and tight with just 3 moves. This workout will challenge your balance, improve your agility, and get your blood pumping.

Leg and butt workout

Instructions: Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise

High knee runs

High Knee Runs | No equipment leg and butt workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Keep your elbows close to the sides of your body, forearms extended straight out in front of you. Your palms should be facing downwards. Maintain a straight posture as you drive your knees up to the palms of your hand, alternating each leg as you do so. Attempt to make as little noise as possible throughout the movement. Your legs should be moving quickly and landing softly.

Plie Squat Reach and Jumps

Squat reach jumps | No equipment leg and butt workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Begin with your feet turned slightly outward and your legs a bit further apart than the width of your hips. Squat down and lightly touch both arms to the ground, in between your feet. Bring your body out of the squat, making a jump as you ascend. Your arms should reach and extend past your head as you jump.

Alternating one legged reach and jump

Alternating one legged reach jumps | No equipment leg and butt workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Maintain a slight bend in the knee of your standing leg. Reach your hands up and overhead. Keep your back flat as you reach your arms down towards your toes. Your standing thigh should almost be parallel with the ground, and the raise leg should extend straight and back behind you. Bring the raised leg back to standing position, and hop upwards while extending both of your arms. Land lightly on your feet and keep the movement controlled, attempting to minimize any wobbling or imbalances that occur.

3 move no-equipment leg and butt workout from the PumpUp Blog: High knee runs, squat reach and jumps, and one-legged reach and jumps. Do 10 reps of each exercise for 3 sets.

Loved this 3 move, no-equipment leg and butt workout? Try our other workouts here. Follow @rachaelgervais on Instagram for more of her workout videos. Have an awesome leg and butt workout to share on #WorkoutWednesday? Tag them on Instagram with #TeamPumpUp so that we can see them! 

This is the only leg day workout you'll ever need

One does not simply walk after leg day (specifically after this leg day workout from pumpupapp member heity_fitness!)

  • Smith squats (4x10) 
  • Hip thrusters, squeezing glutes at the top (4 x 10) 
  • Leg presses (4x10) 
  • Hip abductors (4x15)
  • Hamstring curls (4x10) 
  • Push downs on the pull-up machine (4x15) 
  • Cable kick backs (4 x10) 

See all the moves in the video above!