Fitness Tips

4 Quick and Easy Lower Body Moves That Work Your Core and Glutes in Equal Measure

Whether you're sprinting around the track, tearing up the dance floor, or rushing to get errands done on a Sunday evening, the power you need to get you through it all comes from your lower body. On this episode of Good Moves, trainer Traci Copeland takes you through a 16-minute lower-body workout that will help give your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and core the strength they need to carry you through your everyday movements.

Copeland starts the workout with a two-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to some of your major muscle groups. You'll stretch your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, then cycle through a set of side lunges to work your inner thighs and ground scoops to help you find mobility in your hips. You'll also get a quick dose of cardio via jogging in place, high knees, and shuffle squat jumps, which will test your endurance and get your heart rate up.

Dynamic warmups, like this one, are so essential because not only do they get your muscles ready to reap the full benefits of the workout, but they also help improve your flexibility and range of motion. These elements help you on the mat, sure, but they're also important to the functional movements you carry out in your daily life‚ like walking up a set of stairs or carrying heavy groceries.

Throughout the 16-minute workout, Copeland stresses the importance of listening to your body and provides adjustments to ease some of the pressure on your knees and hips as well as amplifications if you want to level up. Scroll down to learn how to do the 4 moves that you'll need for the set.

4 moves to strengthen your lower body

1. Lateral lunges

Start with your feet together on one side of your mat and your dumbbells in your hands, down by your side. Extend one leg out to the side, squatting into a lunge, while lowering your dumbbells to the ground in one controlled motion, then return to standing. As you stand, use your extended leg to press off the ground (rather than leaning your trunk and relying on momentum) to find both power and extension in this move. Remember to keep your chest lifted and your heels grounded the entire time to really find strength and stability in your base. Do this move for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

2. Squat to overhead press

Begin with your dumbbells just above your shoulders and feet planted slightly wider than your hips. Find a deep squat with the weights still tucked by your shoulders, then extend them upwards as you come back to standing. If you have the mobility to really get low into your squat, "get as deep as you can, because that's where your power is going to come from," explains Copeland.

3. Glute bridge march

For this move, you'll be on the mat, sans weights. Set up in a bridge position with your back, shoulders, and feet on the mat, your knees bent, and your hips lifted off the ground. Once you're settled into place (with your glutes and core engaged) alternate lifting your legs up to the sky with your feet flexed, mimicking an elevated marching movement. "Bridges are great for glute strength," says Copeland, but to really reap the benefits, it's vital that your hips stay level as you march, your core stays engaged, and your range of motion stays controlled.

4. Split squat

Set up with your legs staggered with one leg in front of the other, your front foot grounded, and your back heel lifted, holding your weights down by your sides. Squat with your weights hanging low, then extend back up. Repeat for 30-seconds before alternating your front leg to work the other side. "We're focusing on time under tension," says Copeland, so you'll want to stay controlled through the motion and move slowly through each repetition. She recommends lowering into your squat on a 3-second count, then powering back up quickly to drive through the movement.

Ready to find power in your lower body? Click on the video above to follow along with Copeland as she walks you through an at-home legs, glutes, and core workout that you can do in less than 20 minutes.

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