As much as I’d love to have the long, lean legs of a dancer, my body’s just not designed that way. My legs bulk up when I work ‘em hard. I’m in the middle of cycling season right now and by season’s end I’ll wind up looking more like Helga from the East German Cycling Team than any sort of delicate dancer. Ah, well.
The world would be a boring place if we all looked the same, I suppose.
Your legs are your powerhouse. They are the big, strong muscles that can drive metabolic burn and strength. Even though this is a strength training workout, it’s good cardio too because those large leg muscles put out a lot of energy.
Translation: you will sweat. (Psssssst, that’s a good thing!)
My trainer put together a lower body workout that should take 30-45 minutes to complete. The less rest you take between moves the better; it keeps your heart rate elevated and you burn more calories. There are 2 sets of 4 exercises each. Go through each set 2-3 times.
As always, only start an exercise program with the approval of your doctor.
For equipment you’ll need:
- Bench or step
- Dumbbells (8s or 10s for women, 15s or 25s for men)
- Resistance band, if desired
Taryn’s Lower Body Strength Training Workout
Warm up: some type of cardio (jump rope, treadmill) for 2-3 minutes to get heart rate up.
Step Ups x 12 each leg – Use a bench or something that’s very sturdy.
Airplanes x 12 each leg – Regrettably I have never done this on a beach. Looks like so much more fun somehow.
Sumo Walks x 30-40 (walk sideways, with or without band just below your knees). Side note: if I tried to get away with the position shown in the photo below I’d get yelled at to get my butt down. Since Taryn’s not here, I’ll do it: get your butt down!
Side lunges x 12 each side – Use dumbbells to make it more challenging.
Star Touches x 3 each leg – This is basically a single leg squat, but each rep is 5 touches down, making the shape of a star with your standing foot in the center. Not only is this great for your quads and glutes, it requires balance so it hits the smaller, ancillary muscles in your lower legs.
Bridges x 20 – Raise and lower your hips, squeezing your glutes.
Split Lunges with Leg on Bench x 12 each side – Use dumbbells to make it more challenging, but it tests your balance so be careful!
Squats x 20 – Squats are money! Do a jump at the top if you’re feeling super strong!
Whether you end up with the lithe legs of a dancer or not, if you do this lower body strength training workout twice a week you will get stronger, burn calories and build conditioning.
Working your lower body consistently gives you strength and stamina, to be sure. But it also makes you feel powerful and confident. Who couldn’t use a little bit of that?!
C’mon, we got this!