If the phrase "don't skip leg day" makes you roll your eyes just a little bit, well, we get it. But as annoying as that saying is, there are actually some major health benefits you could be missing out on if you pass on lower-body strengthening. Some of the biggest muscles in your body are in your legs. If you were to stand up and do ten squats, your whole body would get warm instantly—they're a pretty powerful muscle group. By strengthening the muscles in your lower-body, like your quads and glutes, you're helping to power your everyday movements, supporting your kneecaps, and even improving out your posture—it's all connected. Now that you've been thoroughly convinced never to skip leg day again, it's time join Amber Rees and Lindsey Clayton, senior instructors at Barry's and co-founders of Brave Body Project, for your new favorite 15-minute lower-body workout.
Over the next few minutes, you will hit all of the leg-day musts: squats, deadlifts, glute bridges, you name it. You'll do each exercise for fifty-seconds a piece, with ten-seconds of rest in between. Grabbing a pair of weights for a strength workout is always a good move, but Rees and Clayton will show you how you can still nail every move without 'em. Either way, you'll be feeling it. "This is your workout," says Clayton "We're just guiding you through it."
Your First Five Lower-Body Moves:
1. Primal squat to plank: You'll begin today's workout by getting those legs and glutes warmed up and ready for action. Start in a nice low squat, rocking back and forth to open your hips. Next, walk out to your straight-arm plank, drawing in your core and squeezing your glutes. Walk it back to your primal squat, and keep it going for the next fifty-seconds.
2. Hip opener: Now that you've started to wake up your hips, it's time to challenge their mobility. Starting in a plank, bring your left leg in front of you for a deep lunge. Then—keeping your right hand planted on the ground—lift your left palm up to the sky and finish by bringing your left elbow down to the mat. If you're feeling tight on this one, drop your back knee down to the ground. Come back to your plank and hit the other side.
3. Squat: You should be feeling fully warmed-up at this point, so grab a set of weights (if you want) and let's get strengthening. With either two weights racked at your shoulders, one weight in both hands, or no weight at all, drop down into your best squat. Your knees should be tracking over your toes, your core should be tight, and your elbows should be in line with your knees. Now that you've nailed it, slowly come back up and start all over again.
4. Deadlift: All of your moves today can be done with two weights, one weight, or no weight, so pick whichever option feels right for each exercise. If you're using two weights, bend your knees slightly, hinge at the waist, and—keeping your back flat—gently drag your weights up and down your leg. "The move is reminiscent of the 'bend and snap' in Legally Blonde," says Clayton. A little visualization goes a long way!
5. Reverse lunges: For this move, your weights should be hanging by your sides. Take a nice, big step back with the left foot, sit down low with your left knee almost touching the ground, and bring it back up to repeat it on the right. Now that you've completed your first five moves, check out the full video for the rest of your new favorite leg-day workout.
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