Getting low

Tags: Good Living
Getting low
Last week I had talked about how a simple exercise like a push-up with variations can help you build a great upper body. In order to balance out your upper body, here are some easy exercises to build up your lower body as well. Like push-ups, these exercises don’t require any equipment. So in case you are travelling constantly for your work, they will allow you to keep fit without even having to go to the gym in your hotel.

‘Ice skater is a good way to start lower body workout. This exercise will work your abs, lower back, hips, butt, and outer thighs. Stand with feet a little less than shoulder-width apart, arms extended, holding the back of a chair for support. Keeping abs engaged, bend left knee slightly while extending right leg to right side, toes pointing towards the floor and rotated outward.

Bring your right leg behind the left leg as far as possible without touching floor, bending the left leg; contract inner thigh. Return to your starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps; repeat on opposite side.

Follow this up with the ‘Lunge Hinge’. This targets your lower back, abs, hamstrings, and quads. Stand about three feet in front of a step, holding dumbbells with palms facing body. Lunge back, placing right foot on step; bend both knees 90 degrees, keeping left knee aligned with left ankle. Stand up, squeezing glutes. Hinge forward from hips, extending right leg behind you parallel to floor; lower hands toward knees. Push through left heel to return to standing; lower leg and repeat. Do 12 to 15 reps per side.

The third exercise in this sequence works not only your glutes in particular, but also your abs and hamstrings. Begin on all fours, knees under hips and hands under shoulders, back straight, abs tight and head in line with spine.

Without arching back, raise right knee to right side. Extend leg straight back so toes are in line with hip. Bend the knee to bring heel towards your bottom; lower and repeat. Do 16 reps; switch sides. In order to add more variety and challenge to this exercise, keep your leg straight and lift your leg while exhaling 10 to 20 times, and then keeping your leg parallel to the ground and your heel pointing towards the ceiling, move the leg sideways a in tight precise movement 10 to 15 times by using your glutes.

Once you have done this, you round off this session with a pelvic bridge, which works out your lower back, glutes, and inner thighs. Lie face up on floor with hands at sides, palms down, knees bent and feet on floor. Engaging abs, lift hips, keeping feet on floor, make sure that you don’t overarch back your back. At the top, bring knees out to sides as far as possible; return to centre, lower, and repeat. Do 12 to 15 reps.

Treat this combination of exercises as one set. As your strength grows, try and add one to two more sets to your workout. This will not take more than 20 to 30 minutes and help you strengthen and shape your lower body while working your core throughout.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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