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Lower Body and Core Strength

This lower body and core strength workout includes a variety of exercises targeting the glutes, hips, thighs, abs and back. The exercises  are divided into tri-sets, although there are actually 4 exercises in each set, including three lower body moves and one core move.  Techniques change from exercise to exercise and include slow, heavy training, fast-paced endurance exercises and core moves that challenge balance, stamina and stability.  Intermediate and advanced exercisers will get the most out of this workout.

Precautions
See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed
Various weighted dumbbells, a barbell, an exercise ball, a step or staircase and a resistance band.

How To

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • Perform each tri-set once for a shorter workout or 2-3 times for a more advanced workout
  • Rest 30-60 seconds between tri-sets
  • Modify the workout to fit your fitness level and goals
Warm Up - Pulsing Squats with Overhead Press  
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Holding medium-heavy weights just over the shoulders, squat as low as you can and do 3 slow pulses, only coming halfway up.  On the 4th pulse, stand up and push the weights overhead.  Repeat the series for 12 reps.

Tri-Set 1

Barbell Squats - Heavy Weight

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, resting a heavy barbell on the shoulders. Lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes and abs engaged. Press back up and repeat for 12 reps.
Hover Squats
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Hold heavy weights at the sides or at shoulder level, feet shoulder-width apart.  Lower into a squat, hold the position at the bottom for 4 counts, then press back to start.  Repeat for 8 reps.
Pyramid Planks

Begin in a plank position on the forearms. Press the hips up toward the ceiling while staying on the forearms (like an upside 'v') and gently press the heels to the floor. Hold briefly, come back to your plank and push up onto the hands. Hold for a few counts and then press into a downward dog, stretching the heels to the floor and the chest gently through the arms. Come back into your plank, lower down to the elbows and repeat the entire series 3-4 times.
Repeat Tri-Set 1
Tri-Set 2
Front & Reverse Lunge
 front rear lungeFront Reverse LungeFront Reverse Lunge
Holding medium-heavy weights, step the left leg forward into a lunge. Push back to start, lifting the left knee to hip level and immediately stepping back into a reverse lunge with the same leg.  Repeat for 10 reps and switch sides.
Barbell Lunges

Place a heavy barbell on the shoulders and take the right foot forward, left foot back in a split stance.  Keeping abs engaged, bend the knees and lower into a lunge, keeping the front knee behind the toe.  Lower as far as you can without touching the back knee to the floor. Push back to start and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.
Split Squat

Stand about 3 feet in front of a step or platform and place the left foot on the step. Keeping the weight in the front leg, bend the knees and lower into a lunge until the front knee is at about a 90-degree angle. Push through the front heel to stand up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.
Planks with Knee Bends

Begin in a plank position, on the hands and toes. Lift the left foot off the floor and bend the knee, pulling it in towards the chest. Cross the left foot over the right leg, hold briefly, then take left knee back to the chest. Bring the left foot back into your full plank and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 8 reps (1 rep includes a knee bend with both the right and left legs).
Repeat Tri-Set 2
Tri-Set 3
Step Ups
 
Using a band or holding heavy weights, place right foot on a step or the second step of a flight of stairs.  Lower into a squat and then press into the heel of the right foot and step up, lightly touching the left foot on the step.  Bring the left foot down and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.
Side Step Ups

Stand sideways on a step or platform and hold a heavy dumbbell in both hands. Step down with the right leg, lowering into a squat and keeping the back straight, the torso upright and the abs in. Push back up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides.
Sliding Side Lunge

Put a paper plate under the left foot and hold a heavy weight in the left hand. Keep the weight in the right leg and bend the knee as you slide the left foot out to the side, keeping the left leg straight. As you squat toward the floor, keeping the knee behind the toes, take the weight down and touch the floor. Push back up, sliding the left foot in as you stand. Repeat for 12 reps and then switch sides.
Ball Exchange

Lie on the mat and place the ball between the feet.  Lower the arms and legs as low as you can without arching the back, then bring them back to the middle, taking the ball in the hands.  Lower the arms and legs down towards the floor again and continue, exchanging the ball between the hands and feet for 12 reps.
Repeat Tri-Set 3
Tri-Set 4
Bent Knee Deadlift

Hold heavy weights in front of the thighs and squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, back straight and hips back.  Place the weights on the floor and stand up.  Squat back down into the same position, pick up the weights and stand up, repeating for 12 reps.
Deadlifts
Deadlift

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and hold a heavy barbell or dumbbells. With back flat, shoulders back and abs in, tip from the hips and lower upper body as far as your flexibility allows. Raise up, squeezing your glutes and repeat for 12 reps.
One-Legged Deadlift
One Legged Deadlift
Tip from the hips and lower the weight towards the floor (back straight) while lifting the right leg straight out behind you to hip level. Contract the glutes of the right leg to pull back up and repeat for 12 reps before switching sides. Try to keep the foot flexed to encourage keeping the hips squared towards the floor.
Press Ups
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 On your knees, place forearms on the ball.  Straighten the knees and bring the body into a plank position. Hold for 1-2 seconds, lower the knees and repeat for 12 reps.

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