Men and women often go about their workouts differently, with differing goals and concentrating on different body parts. Here are top 5 exercises for women concentrating on the legs, butt and core.

Perform these as a regular part of your workout and you will certainly reap the rewards with greater shape, tone and strength!

Lunge

reverse-lunge-tricep-kick-back-copy

This is a versatile and effective exercise with numerous permutations and great ways of hitting the legs and really firming and strengthening. For one thing, you can either perform them weighted but holding dumbbells (or dumbbell substitutes like bottles of water) in each hand, or even a barbell. Alternatively, and perfectly effectively, you can simply rely on your own bodyweight.

Start upright feet close together in a ‘natural stance’. Now take a large step forwards, lowering your back knee towards the ground and keeping your upper body upright and straight at all times.

Stand up and repeat with the other leg. Perform these at a steady pace in a controlled manner.

This is fantastic for the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

Hip Bridge

rack-hip-thrusts

This might not look like the most comfortable of exercises but it really does work wonders for your butt!

Not only is it fabulous for your glutes, it also acts as a fantastic exercise for your core muscles.

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold a barbell over your hips and ensure the weight is something that will provide stress but you can manage it through repetitions.

Hold the barbell either side of your hips, squeeze your tummy and raise your midsection off the floor, forming a straight line ‘ramp’ from your head and shoulders to your hips to your knees.

Lower your bottom back to the floor in a steady motion and repeat.

You can make this more demanding by adding more weight or even just using one bent leg at a time.

(As with the lunge, you don’t have to use an extra weight at all and can just do this using bodyweight. If you are new to this exercise, you can start this way and get used to the action and how to achieve correct form).

The Step Up

This is another that can equally be performed with or without extra weights. It also targets the glutes and quads (butt and thighs!)

The Step Up is really just an exaggerated version of something nearly all of us do several times each and every day…

Stand in front of a decent height step or a bench, place one foot on it and drive up through that leg to lift your whole body onto the step or bench. Now step down in a controlled manner and repeat using the other leg.

Do as many as you can with good form.

Walking Lunge

This is a variation on the lunge. Whereas the lunge is a more static, on-the-spot exercise, this one involves some travel and therefore an additional level of balance and coordination.

Take a large step forwards and lower the back knee towards the floor (as in the conventional lunge), step through and repeat this as a walk in a straight line. If you have ever seen Groucho Marx do his crazy walk, it’s a kind of slowed down controlled version of that!

You can add intensity to this by holding dumbbells.

Barbell Squats

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This is widely regarded as s one of the most effective exercises for shaping and strengthening your lower body. Perform this regularly to make a great difference to your lower back, core and thighs.

Form is critical here for proper results and to avoid unnecessary discomfort or even injury.

With your feet planted slightly wider than your shoulders to give you a good base, the barbell across your upper back, behind the shoulders, keep the back straight as you squat down until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Now stand gradually and repeat…

This will be hitting your glutes, quads, lower back, abs and hamstrings.

Conclusion

So there you have a Top 5 Exercises for Women that really hit the spot for us ladies! Build these into your workout and I promise you will see fantastically motivating results before too long.

Connect here with WatchFit expert Kate Staples

*Lead picture – Jennifer Jane by Andres Lesauvage, Pout Studios, London. www.poutmedia.com

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