Did you know that those hours you’re spending on the treadmill aren’t going to help you get the legs you’re looking for?
It’s true that walking and running are great forms of exercise. But, if you want to have toned, shapely legs, you need to make sure you’re also strength training on a regular basis.
If you’re ready to start building the legs of your dreams, keep reading. Listed below are five of the best lower body exercises for women that will help you do just that!
A Little Secret
Before getting into the actual exercises, there’s a little secret you need to know. The best lower body exercises for women are also the best lower body exercises for men!
When it comes to shaping your lower body, there’s no reason for you to do different exercises than the men in your life.
Don’t let the videos of endless glute kickbacks that you see on Instagram and YouTube fool you.
If you want to get a strong, sculpted lower body, these are the moves you ought to be doing, regardless of your gender.
When it comes to lists of the best lower body exercises for women, squats regularly rank first, and for good reason.
A squat is a compound movement, which means it works multiple muscle groups. Prioritizing compound movements is the best way to build muscle and burn fat.
You can do squats with a barbell, dumbbells, a resistance band, or even just your own body weight if you’re a total beginner.
Be sure to keep these form cues in mind so that you can avoid injuries and see the greatest amount of results from your squats:
- Keep your spine neutral (don’t round or over arch your back)
- Keep your chest and shoulders lifted (try looking at a spot on the wall in front of you)
- Avoid letting your knees cave in
- Try to get your thighs parallel to the ground, if not lower
Deadlifts are another essential compound exercise.
They work almost all the muscles in the posterior chain — all the muscles on the back side of the body, such as the calves, hamstrings, low back, and glutes. Because of this, they’re one of the most effective exercises for women who want to build strong, defined legs.
If you do deadlifts regularly, you’re also less likely to injure yourself in your daily life when you’re bending over to pick things up or set them down.
There are tons of different deadlift variations out there. Some of the most common include conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts.
The setup for each version is slightly different. But, these cues will help you master any type of deadlift you attempt:
- Keep your weight in your heels and midfoot
- Don’t let your hips rise before your chest when lifting the weight
- Keep the weight close to your body at all times
- Squeeze your glutes as you lift, but don’t hyperextend your knees and low back when you reach the top
- Keep your core engaged as you lower the weight
Deadlifts are usually not as familiar as squats to people who are new to the gym. When you’re first getting started, don’t be afraid to use just the bar or a pair of light dumbbells. This will allow you to nail the form and avoid injuring yourself.
3. Bulgarian Split Squats
A Bulgarian split squat is a great single-leg exercise that works the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. During this exercise, you have one leg in front of you in a lunge position while your back leg is elevated with your foot resting on a box or bench.
To do a Bulgarian split squat correctly, make sure you’re keeping these cues in mind:
- Sit your hips back the same you would while doing a regular squat
- Bend your back leg deeply (you should be aiming for your knee to almost touch the floor)
- Keep your chest and shoulders lifted
- Drive through your front heel when you stand up and don’t let your knee cave in
Most people find that Bulgarian splits squats are plenty difficult when performed with just their body weight, although you can always add dumbbells or a barbell if you need an extra challenge.
4. Barbell Hip Thrusts
If you want to have great glutes, barbell hip thrusts are a must.
The hip thrust is a foreign exercise for most people and can be a little intimidating at first. But, in addition to major compound lifts, it’s one of the best exercises for women who want to grow their glutes.
When you’re getting set up for a hip thrust, make sure your barbell is parallel to the bench. Then, sit on the floor and make sure your shoulders and shoulder blades are resting on the bench. Roll the barbell so it’s over your legs and sitting directly on your hips.
Once you’re set up, you’re ready to hip thrust. To get the most out of the somewhat awkward exercise, be sure to do the following:
- Keep your spine neutral and your chin tucked slightly
- Push your heels and squeeze your glutes tightly to lift the barbell
- Keep your core engaged, especially when you lower the weight
If you find this exercise to be painful, try placing a rolled-up yoga mat under the bar to create some extra cushion between it and your hips.
You May Like These: 8 Ways To Stay Fit While Working At Home
5. Calf Raises
Your calves will get some attention when you’re doing exercises like deadlifts. But, if you really want to fill out your legs, you should also work them on their own with bodyweight or weighted calf raises.
The calf raise is a pretty simple exercise — you just raise yourself up onto your toes. But there are lots of things you can do to help you get more out of the movement:
- Alternate between having your toes pointed forward, turned in, and turned out
- Avoid letting your ankles roll out when you rise up (think of keeping your weight on your big and middle toes)
- Change up your speed when you raise and lower yourself down to mix things up
- Stand on one foot and do single-leg calf raises to challenge your balance
If you have any mobility issues, you can also try standing on a bench or step to get a larger range of motion.
Remember, there’s no need for you to be afraid of lifting weights. So many women are afraid of getting “bulky” or “big” if they lift heavy, but it’s very hard for that to actually happen.
Don’t lift so heavy that your form suffers, of course. But, remember that lifting heavy weights will help you build muscle, which will speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat easier. It’s a win-win!
Start incorporating these lower body exercises into your workout routine today, and you’ll see amazing results before you know it!
Author Bio: Natalie Thongrit is a freelance writer who focuses primarily on fitness, health, and wellness-related content. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check out her portfolio to read more of her work.
How To Get In Shape While On Holiday
Vacation. This is a word that can mean so many different things. Some people consider vacation as a time away from all the hassles of their daily work. Others look at it as a way to break away from routine and there are also those who just want to use up their vacation leave. Whatever your purpose is on your next holiday, there is one important thing that you need to make plans for – your fitness regimen.
Shopping – A Great Form of Exercise
Since a huge chunk of every vacation is one’s shopping spree, then you might as well use this opportunity to stay fit. Imagine walking all over the different malls that you can find. To add to this, you also get to carry the things that you buy so this is an effective way to work off on self-indulgence.
Do not just buy the first items that you find. Ask around first so that you get to find the best bargains on athleisure while you also spend more time (and more energy) going from one shop to the next. Also, make it a point not to use elevators or escalators, utilize the stairs so that you will burn more calories.
Utilize the Hotel Gym / Boot Camp It
Yet another part of any holiday is the need to stay in a hotel. Most hotels now have indoor gyms so it would be a waste if you do not use the exercise equipment there. Being on vacation is no excuse to stop your exercise regimen. What you need, though, is your strongest willpower and an activewear. Have the determination to continue exercising and you will surely reap the benefits later on.
Another fun way to get into shape is to go to a bootcamp. These prove to be a super fun way to burn excess pounds, test your body’s limits, and learn new and positive habits. Imagine how much better you’ll feel in that bikini after you’ve been sweating it out in a boot camp!
Pack Some Exercise Essentials
If it is impossible to hit the gym during your vacation, then you might as well take any of these with you – light weights, exercise band or a jump rope. Toning your muscles isn’t all about sweating in the gym. Sometimes, you just need to be disciplined enough to exercise on your own and make do with your packed resources while vacationing.
Steer Clear of Some Foods
One other thing that is equated to vacation is food, especially if this is your first time to visit a certain place. For instance, if it is your first time to go to Germany, you might be instantly tempted to try their different types of beers and fattening cuisine. If you do not curb your urges, you could end up trying every bit of food that you could lay your eyes on – and this is not good for your figure.
The secret is to try one, unique meal at a time and then to couple this with your usual fruits and vegetables; this way, you maintain your healthy diet while still getting to taste exotic cuisine.
Swim That Body Fat Away
If your destination for your holiday vacation is a beach resort, then make good use of the resource that you have right in front of you – the rolling waters! Swimming is an activity that can help you trim down while keeping your heart healthy – technically, you are hitting two birds with one stone. If your vacation does not involve any water activities, then plan for a lot of walking. Rather than ride a cab, it is best to walk and enjoy the scenery or architectural wonders around you. Tuck that pedometer and you’re just about ready to walk around a city!
CBD For Weight Loss
Obesity is an ever growing epidemic and with it comes countless deteriorative consequences. Let’s make one thing clear; everyone should love every inch of their body. All the curves, flaccidity or firmness. One can look beautifully thick and have an impeccable health. By now, we should know all bodies work differently. However, the rising obesity epidemic comes accompanied with rising diabetes, heart disease, and higher cancer risks. Unfortunately, there’s no way around that.
If you’re in this peculiar situation and have tried everything on the internet in the hopes of helping you beat obesity; we hear you and we’re here for you. Thankfully, researchers have been very busy. The controversial and often notorious cannabis plant could be the answer. Or rather CBD (cannabidiol), an active ingredient present in the cannabis plant.
Are we saying you need to get high to trim down? Not necessarily but if you want to try, be our guest. Let us know how that goes.
If you don’t feel like smoking a Jay, you can use CBD for weight loss without ever getting high.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is a compound in the marijuana plant. Unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is also found in marijuana, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. The Weed you see across all the media or Seth Rogen movies, usually contains a much higher concentration of THC than CBD.
CBD products contain little to zero THC. Industrial hemp is often grown to contain more CBD than THC and the CBD is then extracted for products.
When you want to buy a CBD product, do your research to make sure the manufacturer and supplier are reputable (some poor quality products contain heavy metals). Also,do us a favor and double check the THC concentration. High-quality brands will indicate whether or not they include THC and the amount of concentration in it.
How Can CBD Help for Weight Loss?
- Still feeling a bit starstruck? “This too good to be true”.
- Fortunately, unlike most new diets, this one is actually true.
- Let’s take a look at how exactly CBD can help with weight loss:
There is a study in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology done in 2010 in which they compared the effects of high THC: low CBD cannabis strains vs high CBD: low THC cannabis strains. One thing they noticed was that instead of causing the munchies, the high CBD: low THC strains actually blunted the users’ appetites.
Converts White Fat to Brown Fat
Let’s start with the facts: You have two different types of fat in your body, White Fat and Brown Fat. We don’t mean subcutaneous (under the skin) fat and visceral (around the organs) fat. White fat is the more abundant fat in your body. When you gain weight, this is the type of fat that is accumulating in your body.
Brown fat usually sits between our shoulder blades and helps to keep us warm and also burns calories, unlike white fat. Here is a 2016 study explaining how CBD converts white fat into brown/beige fat. It’s all a little complicated, but the gist of it is that it starts to change the genes and proteins in a way that starts to brown the white fat.
This results in:
- The breakdown of fatty tissue and the prevention of more being created.
- More mitochondria, which are like the powerhouses of cells, are created resulting in a higher metabolism.
How to Use CBD Oil Products for Weight Loss
There are stores popping up left and right, online and physically. So finding products that suit your preference isn’t that hard. You have options:
- CBD drops: Flavored or plain to take on your tongue, in water or juice, or via a vape pen.
- CBD edibles: Cookies, candy, cold drinks, you name it. Just watch the sugar content.
- CBD capsules: If you don’t want either of the above options, taking a capsule is easy.
The dosage is unique for every person. It’s suggested to start at a low dose, as low as 5mg, and then you can work your way up. When scientists and medical professionals test whether CBD helps for certain diseases, such as schizophrenia and epilepsy, they sometimes use doses over 1000mg.
This amount may be excessive for general everyday use. Most people don’t need a dose nearly as high as that. Most people will see the benefit at 50mg, some will need more, and others might need less.
In other words, take your time to find the dosage that works for you. The products will have a recommended dose. If you are uncertain, stick to that.
Are There Side Effects?
At doses below 100mg, there usually are none. Although rare, the large doses that are used in the medical trials, may cause side effects like diarrhea, feeling tired, and sometimes changes in their weight (both up and down) and appetite, according to some people.
If you start at a low dose and work your way up slowly to about 50mg, your body will generally have time to adjust without noticeable side effects. Just remember that everyone is different, so don’t try to force your body to take a higher dose if a lower dose works perfectly fine.
If you are on any medication, be sure to speak to your doctor first to be on the safe side. Cannabidiol can make the body process medication differently by making them less efficient or even increasing their effects.
Will CBD Test Positive on Drug Tests?
No. Drug tests look for THC and since CBD products don’t generally contain any; you will not test positive. Yes, you can relax.
What About the Law?
In the states where weed is legal, there will be no problem. CBD products are not generally considered illegal due to the lack of THC, but some people have experienced their parcels being confiscated as they go through customs or other channels of delivery. So be sure to check the laws in your particular state and/or get them from a physical store.
Slimming down can be hard but not impossible. Living a healthy life is not for a size sake; it’s for your wellness. It’s about loving yourself and taking the time to learn your body and providing it what it needs. Eat healthy foods, be sure to exercise, and why not try boosting your efforts with CBD oil. It won’t hurt. Just bear in mind that it’s not a miracle solution but nothing really is. It will make it a little easier though and isn’t that what we’re all looking for? A little help. It will still take time, but be consistent and don’t give up or put yourself down. You will see results. Ask anyone that was once in your situation and were able to power through it; it’s possible.
If you are doing everything right and still see no difference after a few months, go see your doctor. Thyroid problems and diabetes can be to blame. The correct treatment should sort it out.
Have you tried CBD products for weight loss? Will you try it? Let us in on the details, we want to know.
GHD Machine Vs Rowing Machine – Which One Should You Use?
GHD machines and rowing machines are often the most ignored pieces of equipment found in the gym. But did you know that these machines can provide a great full body workout?
The reason you don’t find many people using them is the often the lack of knowledge on how to use them, and the misunderstandings about the risk of injury.
Let’s be honest here. Many pieces of equipment are used more than the others just because of their popularity rather than superiority. Putting that aside, let’s focus on why you should be using GHD and rowing machines.
GHD machine also known as the glute-hamstring developer is used to perform workouts that target glutes and hamstrings along with your core and lower back. It also trains your mind-muscle connection and ability to do high-intensity controlled movements.
GHD strengthens your overall lower body, as well as your ability to perform major compound movements like squats and deadlifts.
Many people talk about the risk of injury when using this machine, but that is true for any equipment if not used properly. In fact, if you learn to use it, it will actually save you from leg and back injuries.
The major GHD exercises you must include in your workout are:
1. The GHD Sit Up
To perform this exercise, sit on the curved seating part of the machine while keeping your feet pressing against the footplate. Make sure you don’t sit exactly on top of the curved seat. Your hips should be slightly hanging down and knees slightly bent.
Go back until your body is parallel to the ground, then come up while keeping your back straight.
2. The Glute Hamstring Raise
In this exercise, your knees are resting against the curved seat (and not on the seat) and feet locked in the ankle lock.
In starting position your body is perpendicular to the ground. Start coming down keeping your back straight and muscles squeezed. Here you are facing the ground instead of facing up as in the sit up.
When your body is parallel to the ground, come back up.
3. The Hip Extension
For hip extension, lie on the machine facing the ground. Your feet are on the footplate and your body’s midsection is resting on the curved seat.
You start the movement with your body parallel to the ground. Go down till 60 to 70-degree angle (not complete perpendicular) and then come back up, keeping your back straight and glutes squeezed.
While doing the above exercises, keep in mind that your back should be straight throughout the movement and you are performing it correctly. Take the help of a trainer if you are a beginner.
Rowing machine provides a full body workout with variations in intensity. It works both the upper body and the lower body muscle groups during the complete row movement. Again, proper form and intensity are a must to reap the most benefits and prevent injury.
It gives you a great warmup before performing high strength or high-intensity exercises. But in itself, the rowing machine can give you a complete workout if you are short of time.
Include these rowing exercises in your routine for great results:
1. Simple Rows
Simple rows are a great way to start your workout, giving you a good warmup to your overall body.
Sit on the machine with your feet on the foothold. Your knees should be bent and your back should be straight. Grab the handle with your hands.
Go back using your legs and keeping your arms straight. When your legs are fully straight, you pull the handle with your arms to your torso.
Then come forward bending your legs and straightening our arms. Repeat the movement with uniformly with moderate intensity.
2. The HIIT Rowing
Here you do the regular rowing but the intensity is very high.
Keeping the correct form is very important. Try keeping the speed as high as possible for the target amount of time. It is a great exercise to burn calories very quickly.
3. Strength Rowing
This exercise focuses on building strength and working the muscles rather than just cardio.
Here you increase the resistance and perform the movement as slow as possible keeping the correct form. Make sure the resistance is high enough that you can do around 10-15 repetitions.
For rowing machine exercises, always keep your back straight and make sure your elbows are not flaring out.
Both the GHD machine and rowing machine are great inclusions to your workout routine. Therefore, you can’t just ignore one for the other.