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There are plenty of lower body exercises you can do without equipment, so you can keep your fitness up at home.
’Tis the season to workout at home. Thanks to busy schedules and cold weather, leaving the house for the gym or a run is much less appealing — but you don’t need to go out to great workout in.
That’s true even of muscle groups that we are told will only get stronger with heavy weights, like the glutes. You can work your glutes using bodyweight or with the dusty dumbbells you picked up during lockdown. Your glutes, particularly the glute med — the muscle that runs down the outside of the glutes and hips — are often best worked with just your own resistance, so now is the time to focus in on them.
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Don’t know where to start? We’ve rounded up some of the best lower body exercises you can do from home, so you don’t have to skip glute day this season.
A squat is a staple of lower body workouts. While a lot of people like to mix them up with resistance bands and weighted bars, bodyweight squats are a great way polish your form and activate the muscles in the lower body.
To ensure that you are working the glutes and not just the quads, press through your heels and squeeze your bum muscles as you come up to standing. You can also try squat variations like sumo squats that are more glute-focused.
How to do a squat
- Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart (or, in a sumo stance, a little wider with your toes turned outwards).
- Brace your core and slightly hinge the hips as you bend your knees to lower your glutes towards the floor.
- When you’re as low as you can go, press through your heels to straighten your legs and come back up to standing.
There are lots of different types of lunges, but reverse lunges are the best way to load up your glutes as well as target your quads, thighs and core. Think about taking a big step back and leaning your torso a little bit over your front leg for added emphasis on the posterior chain.
How to do reverse lunges
- Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Ground your left foot into the floor and brace your core as you take a big step back your right foot.
- Bend your right knee to come towards the floor, tapping it on the ground it you can.
- Keeping your weight through the left foot, stand up straight and step the right foot back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
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Glute bridges and hip thrusts are glute-dominant movements, but they also work your core and hamstrings. The difference between the two moves is that glute bridges are performed in a lying position on the floor, whereas in hip thrusts your back is raised onto a bench, box, sofa or table for added time under tension.
To add extra resistance, try these with a resistance band looped around your thighs or a dumbbell placed over your hips.
How to do glute bridges
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted flat on the floor. You can keep your arms down by your sides or extended out from your shoulders.
- Engage your abs and tuck your tailbone so your pubic bone is pointing towards the ceiling.
- Press through your heels to lift your hips and back off the floor.
- Slowly lower back down, maintaining the tailbone tucked position.
A clamshell is a great way to target the glute med. They’re made even more challenging by placing a resistance band around your thighs, but will still burn if performed with bodyweight.
The key is to keep your hips still and not let them roll forwards or backwards. You shouldn’t feel the burn in your hip flexor, at the front of your hip, but in the side and back of your hips and buttocks.
How to do clamshells
- Lie on your left side with your hips and knees stacked on top of each other and bent at 45 degrees. Your feet should be in line with your glutes.
- Keeping your feet together and left leg on the floor, raise your right knee as high as you can without your heels coming apart.
- Pause at the top then lower back down to the starting position.
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Bulgarian split squats
Bulgarian split squats are a great way to challenge your stability while building glute strength. Like in the reverse lunge, keep your upper body leaning a little forwards and keep a big stride between your front and back legs to emphasise the glutes.
You can hold weights in either or both hands for this exercise, or make it a bodyweight movement.
How to do Bulgarian split squats
- Stand in front of a chair, step or box with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Place your weight into your right foot and lift your left foot off the floor, placing it on the bench behind you. Your toes can be curled under or your foot can lie flat, sole facing up towards the ceiling.
- Brace your core and keep your head looking straight in front of you, bend your right knee and lower yourself back knee towards the floor.
- Push yourself back up by pressing through your right foot.
Want more exercises you can do at home? Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest Strong In 10 workouts that can be done in your very own living room – with or without dumbbells. Plus, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.
Image credit: Getty
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