February 27, 2020 10 min read
The lower body often gets overlooked when it comes to workout routines at the gym or at home. Most people enjoy working out the chest and triceps and arms and chest. These parts of the body often produce noticeable results after a short time of consistently working out. Plus, they look great in gym mirror selfies!
The lower body is just as useful as the upper body workouts. There are many benefits to working out the lower body, so there is no excuse for skipping out on leg day.
The most important thing when it comes to the workout is to be intentional about your routine. We know you don’t have hours and hours to spend at the gym. So make the most of the time you have! It’s not necessary to spend two hours every day at the gym. A 25-minute workout that is well executed and planned out well can be just as rewarding.
To do this, think about what muscles you want to target in your upper body. The best ones to tackle are the glutes, quads, and calves. These all get worked out with squats and lunges, but sometimes there are variations of these exercises that give some extra oomph for killer results.
The next thing is to make sure you know how to do all the moves properly. If you’re just starting out, consider tackling a couple of basic, simple moves first. You can always graduate by adding in more complicated steps later on. It’s always best to start with simple moves and lighter weights in the beginning. Doing a movement improperly is not only a waste of time but also an injury risk.
The last tip is to keep your routines varied. When your body performs the same move over and over again, it gets used to the movement and the effects lessen. It’s best to keep your muscles “on their toes,” by changing up your reps or even your routine on a regular basis. It helps to work a different muscle group on each day of the week. If you stick to it, you won’t be able to believe how fast those muscles get ripped.
Kettlebells are famous for being a great whole body workout. They work many muscle groups at the same time, while still providing cardio. They are an inexpensive way to do your workout from the comfort and convenience of your own home, without having to make a special trip to the gym. With all the options out there, we’ve narrowed lower-body kettlebell training options down to help you get right down to it.
Of course, you may have heard of the kettlebell squat. But what about the goblet squat? This happens when you hold the kettlebell with both hands on either side of the handle of the bell. Your palms should face each other. You will hold the kettlebell in front of your chest.
Even a small change in movement can big a difference as to what muscles are targeted in the workout. Some people like to do barbell or dumbbell squats. For this move, the barbell is rested on top of the shoulders. For the best results, you should get under the rack, lift the barbell above your head and then rise with the bell already on your shoulders. This exercise produces great results because adding that weight to your squat heavily activates your glutes and hamstrings.
A kettlebell goblet squat has an added effect to the squat, however, since you are holding the weight in front of you, you are also activating your core and arms more intensely during the squat. Having the precision that comes with holding a small weight in front of you can be a much better all-over workout. Even if your main goal is to target your lower body, there’s no reason why you can’t sneak in a little core and arms workout at the same time.
Keep the focus on your heels. You want to drive the movement through heels instead of your toes. How do you make that happen? Think about the positioning of your whole body. Keep your back perfectly straight and your shoulders back. Also, pay attention to your core. It should not be loose or sucked in. You should be able to hold it naturally, yet still tight. When you start to lower your body, you should feel your core slightly strained. If you feel a strain in your back, you know you’re doing it wrong. If you find yourself wobbling forward onto your toes, that’s also wrong. Think about balancing your weight.
Which muscles should you activate with the squat? Learn how to make yourself aware of them and where they are positioned on your body. Once you’re able to do that, you’ll be able to feel when they are activated and when they are idle. The squat is a simple move on the outside, but complex when it comes to the technique. It takes some practice to be able to feel and do the move properly.
We recommend that, as a beginner, you do the squat with little to no weights until you have mastered the movement. Poorly performed squats can result in pulled tendons, strained muscles, and even longer-lasting injuries. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you will find that you can add weight at a gradual yet pretty fast pace.
The kettlebell lunge can be done in two ways:
Balance is important when it comes to the lunge, too. Again, you don’t want to totter forward onto your toes when you go down into the kneel. The best way to avoid this is to stabilize yourself in the beginning. Stand up straight with good posture. Decide which foot you will stabilize yourself with and then focus on lowering your weight with that leg. The pressure should go into the back leg you are using to stabilize yourself, the front leg that bends down at the knee.
Another tip for good balance is to think about the position of your stride. Don’t step with your legs too far apart or too close together. If they are too close together, you will definitely find yourself losing balance much more easily. If they are too wide, you may not have the wobbling problem, but you will not reap the best benefits to your lower body.
Many people underestimate the value of a strong mental position during a weightlifting session. Focus is everything. Instead of letting your mind wander wildly, think about the muscles in your body and feel them getting the attention they need. When you’re doing a lunge, you want the most effort to come from your glutes and quads. If you can focus on that rear tension, you will get your balance and focus just right.
A simple way to turn this move into a compound exercise is the Kettlebell lunge press. For this variation, you will hold the kettlebell in your right hand. Hold the kettlebell in front of your chest. As you lower your body into the lunge, raise the kettlebell overhead so your arm is fully extended. When you raise your body back into standing position, move the kettlebell back in front of your chest. As it reaches its destination, move your left arm to meet the right arm at the center. Switch the kettlebell to your left hand and repeat the move using the left arm.
Should I do several reps with the right arm before switching to the left or should I switch between arms back and forth?
While you may build a stronger muscle by the repetition of one arm several times in a row, it may actually be better for your mental strength to switch arms back and forth each time. The advantage of this is the power of working out your body and your mind at the same time. How does this work? It strengthens the powers of your right and left brain together.
When it comes to both sides of the brain, the right brain is what controls the logical, mathematical side of the brain. The left brain manages our more artistic functions, like creativity and different art forms. In most cases, each person has one side that is stronger than the other, giving them an advantage in those fields. If you’ve ever heard someone ask, “Are you right-brained or left-brained?” this is what they were referring to.
While it’s okay to be skilled in certain fields and weaker than others, some people experience extreme results of this uneven sides of brain strength. Dyslexia is often a result of this disadvantage. Many physical therapists will recommend children (or adults) who suffer from dyslexia to do exercises that work both sides of their brain evenly. One of these exercises is army crawling. Another way to accomplish that same thing is by doing a kettlebell lunge press.
If you’re up for a challenge that results in mad leg strength, this move is for you. Before you do it, you should know how to do the traditional kettlebell swing.
This move happens with your starting position at legs shoulder-width apart. Pick the kettlebell up with both hands grabbing the top of the handle, palms facing downward. Begin the move with your kettlebell in the triangle between your knees and groin. Bend down (keeping your back straight and core tight), then swing the kettlebell upward (your arms should stay fully extending the whole time) until the kettlebell is directly above your head. To finish the move, bring the kettlebell back down to the starting position and repeat.
For the sidestep swing, you’ll just do a slight variation. While you are swinging the kettlebell up above your head, you will take a sidestep. That means you take your right foot and move it sideways in a wide step. Your left leg will follow, moving your whole body over to the right a little further. Once the kettlebell arrives back in the starting position, you will have moved one large step to the right. You’ll repeat the move until you’ve moved as far to the right as you can, then go back in the other direction, leading with your left leg.
This exercise requires coordination, but it works your inner thighs, which often get overlooked during a lower body workout.
This workout is not only good for your legs and glutes but also your back. A strong back is crucial for many reasons. Not only does it keep your posture upright and healthy, it staves off bone diseases as you age. Many people start to develop scoliosis as well as many other back problems as they grow older. Keeping a strong back through your youth will prevent these misfortunes in the future. Some achieve this with the dumbbell clean and press, but if you want to stick to kettlebells, do this one.
The kettlebell clean is quite similar to the kettlebell swing, but with a bit of variation. To do it, you should start at the athletic stance, with your legs shoulder-width apart. You will start the kettlebell in the same original position. When you lift it up, you will bring it to the rack position, which is right in front of your chest. Instead of extending your arms, you will keep them bent at the elbow, close to your sides. Once you reach full position, the kettlebell should be in front of your shoulder, with your arms bent to your sides. Then you will take it back to starting position.
The advantage of the kettlebell clean is you can use a heavier weight, with less risk of injury or accident. You have to decide if you want to focus more on cardio or more on strength? If the goal is strength, the clean is the way to go. When it comes to the swing, you have much more room for error when the kettlebell swings above your head. If the weight is too much for you, you could end up losing your arm strength, which is dangerous when you have a large weight directly above your head! With the kettlebell clean, you have less range of motion, which optimizes strength building in your target areas.
The deadlift is an ‘oldie but goodie.’ There’s a reason it’s so popular in the weightlifting world. It’s a great way to lift a lot of weight (and target a lot of muscles) with a simple movement. Which muscles will you get with the deadlift? You’ll target the abs, glutes, back, and arms. The advantages of a kettlebell deadlift over a barbell deadlift are minimal. However, if the rest of your workout is made up all kettlebell moves, it can be the most convenient (and inexpensive!) version of this classic exercise.
Form is everything when it comes to the deadlift. Since you are lifting a lot of weight, you need to make sure your lower back does not hunch over when you’re lifting or bending over. You can make sure this doesn’t happen by performing the movement in your hips. Use your hip mobility to make the upward swing. Here are some other things to consider while doing the deadlift:
You can create a kettlebell leg workout routine with these exercises to get optimum lower body strength. Of course, don’t forget to switch it up from time to time, even if that means lower reps with a higher weight or the other way around. You can always work in dumbbells and barbells for a variation. The dumbbell snatch provides a great all over body workout. Above all, you should keep your body guessing about what will happen next to keep it performing at the top of your game. When all is said and done, don’t forget to give your body what it needs to recover, so you can start it all again the next day.