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The warmer weather and longer days are finally here, and you're likely excited to get outside and target your major muscle groups with body workouts - whether you prefer high-intensity or low-impact exercises.
This is the perfect season to get in shape and stay fit, and what better way to kick off your fitness routine than with a circuit training workout! A circuit workout involves multiple exercises with little rest in between.
Certified Personal Trainer Paige Waehner writes that this makes circuit training easier to squeeze into your busy schedule. It helps burn more calories than a regular workout, allowing you to sculpt your body and reach your fitness and health goals faster.
If you want to try a circuit training workout that you can do outdoors, read on for some great lower body exercises that you can add to your routine!
Why Do Warm-Up Exercises
According to Waehner, some circuit training exercises focus on strength while others on cardio, or it can be both strength and cardio. But before you begin your lower body circuit workout routine, it’s important to do a quick warm-up.
Warming up will help prepare your muscles and reduce the risk of injury. A quick 5-minute warm-up should be enough– just make sure to include dynamic stretching and light cardio such as jogging or jumping jacks. Waehner also recommends some dynamic exercises that complement your circuit workouts.
For more warm-up exercises that you can incorporate into your circuit training, check out some quick routines here.
5 Lower-Body Exercises for Your Circuit Training
Bulgarian Split Squat
(Image Source: Cathe)
1. Start by standing about 2 feet in front of a low, steady bench or chair, ideally 3 inches in height.
2. As you look straight ahead, extend your left leg behind you and place it on the bench or chair. Keep your right foot firmly on the ground.
3. Descend slowly until both legs make a 90-degree angle or just below parallel. Your right foot should be firmly positioned below your knees.
4. Come back up and switch sides.
5. Do the desired reps.
• During the exercise, keep your chest up and your back straight. Also, engage your core and abdominal muscles to help stabilize your spine.
• Don’t put excessive pressure on your knees.
• Engage your leg muscles, quads, glutes, and hamstrings to have the power you need as you come back up again.
• The Bulgarian split squat, which involves a lot of balance and coordination, primarily targets the quadriceps of the front leg and the glutes.
• It also targets your hamstrings, calves, and core muscles.
• Always remember that the back leg should serve as your balance support.
1. Find a chair, a bench, or stairs of the right height.
2. Lift your right foot and plant it firmly on the chair, bench, or stairs.
3. Shift your weight to your right leg and then push your body up into a standing position.
4. Keep the other foot raised as you stand up on your right leg. Engage your quads, glutes, and abs in this position.
5. Come back to the ground with your left leg.
6. Repeat the movement several times before switching to the other leg.
• Make sure that the chair or bench you’re using for the exercise is sturdy.
• Do not bounce while doing the step-up exercise.
• You can change the height of the surface for more effective muscle targeting.
• If you’re a beginner, focus first on your form rather than speed.
• This type of routine is a form of body resistance workout.
• It helps improve your balance and targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.
• It helps even out muscle imbalances in both sides of your body.
1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointed forward and your arms relaxed.
2. Take a large step to the right side and lower your body down as far as you can go. Keep the other leg straight, your chest up, and your back straight while engaging your abs.
3. Maintain the position for several seconds.
4. Push back to the starting position.
5. Switch to the other side.
• Try to find the right balance to avoid strain and make the most of this exercise.
• Speak to your doctor if you have knee injuries.
• Don’t forget to take a deep breath between each repetition.
• A lateral lunge targets both the inner and outer thighs as well as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
• This exercise is also great for improved mobility, stability, flexibility, and form.
• It also gives your lower-body muscles a good stretch.
1. Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Descend to a squat position and place your hands out in front of your body.
3. Jump up in one quick motion, taking care to land with soft knees.
4. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
• If you're a beginner, avoid aggressive jumps to prevent injury.
• This exercise is performed in conjunction with a range of sports activities or training routines.
• For better strength and speed, you may want to do 15 reps and perform it twice or thrice a week.
• The exercise activates your leg muscles and hips.
• Plyo jump helps increase your endurance and power.
• It helps improve your balance and agility.
(Image Source: The Ledger)
1. Stand straight and position your feet wider than the shoulder width. Make sure that your toes are pointing forward.
2. Taking a deep breath, descend into a squat position while making sure that your feet remain firmly planted on the ground. Engage your glutes and core.
3. Push your knees outward as you lower your body until you’re parallel to the ground.
4. Hold for a few seconds. Exhale as you come back up to the starting position.
5. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
• To increase resistance, try adding a kettlebell or dumbbell to your routine.
• Keep your back straight and knees in line with your toes to ensure proper form.
• Take deep breaths as you switch positions.
• While doing this exercise, always engage your core and keep your back straight with your eyes looking forward.
• A variation of a regular squat, the sumo squat helps strengthen your inner thighs, quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and calves.
• This exercise activates your core muscles as well.
• It is convenient to do as you can perform it anywhere.
Jump-start your fitness goals with circuit training! Listen to your body and stop when you reach your limits, especially if you’re a beginner. Overexerting won't help—in fact, it can lead to injury, nausea and dizziness. To find a circuit training workout that's right for you, consult a fitness trainer today.
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