Updated: May 11, 2020
Lower body training is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself: it not only works to shape killer legs, glutes and calves, burns a ton of calories, and boosts both your metabolism as well as your stamina - but it translates to better movement throughout your everyday life. The thing is, many of us find ourselves strapped for time when it comes to our workouts. We aren’t scheduling out 45 minutes to an hour in the gym 4-5 times a week (if at all!) But lower body training works well for “on the go” since all you really need to do is make use of your own body weight! You need only a minimal amount of space and can hammer out a really great workout in no time at all. Here are the 5 Best Exercises you can do on the go - meaning at home - at the park - in a hotel room - anywhere! The best part is they are all modifiable and adaptable - meaning you can add weight to increase difficulty or switch up your technique in order to address muscle imbalances or weaknesses.
1. The Squat
The squat tops this, and most any, lower body exercise list because the squat is truly a full body exercise, working everything from legs to core and back again. You can perform regular bodyweight squats, toss in a fabric mini band for extra tension, or add weight in a variety of ways from dumbbells at your sides, at shoulder height, or even pushed up overhead for a major core challenge. Once you’ve mastered the classic bodyweight squat you can also switch up the time under tension, meaning how many seconds it takes you to lower to the bottom of the squat position, how long you hold it there, and how quickly you drive back up.
2. Bridge or Thrust
Bridges and Hip Thrusts are a close second as they are excellent glute-focused exercises concerned with hip extension. You’ll also find that bridges and hip thrusts work the hamstrings, core, lower back, abs, obliques, and hip flexors. The classic glute bridge will find you laying flat on the floor, feet planted about hip distance apart, pushing through your heels to raise your hips to the ceiling and squeezing your glutes at the top. This simple move can be done with or without weights and with or without a mini-band. You can also do it one leg at a time to strengthen each side equally. The hip thrust is a progression of this exercise that finds you elevating your shoulders and performing the same movement. You can then choose to elevate your feet, your shoulders and feet, do one legged versions, and, like the squat, experiment with time under tension.
An excellent move to work on both mobility and stability as well as strength, the lunge is a part of any well-rounded lower body routine, especially an “on the go” one. Since lunges are a unilateral exercise, you can focus on equal strength on both legs. You can perform static lunges (meaning no movement involved), walking forward lunges, reverse lunges, curtsey lunges, step down lunges from an elevated platform, and more. Remember with lunges that a short stride will focus more on the quads while a longer stride/step forward will target the glutes more.
No lower body routine is complete without a “hinge” movement which targets the glutes, hamstrings and lower back, and deadlifts are it! Think of it as training for anytime you need to pick up something heavy from the floor - it's an essential daily life movement. If you’re training somewhere without access to weights, not to worry! You can perform a deadlift without weight too, you’ll just place even more emphasis on good form. Sumo stance, straight leg, single leg, staggered stance, even a walking deadlift is possible!
5. Hip Abduction
The final category of the 5 “on the go” exercises are hip abduction exercises. These are essential to a great lower body routine not only because they help tone and tighten the sides of the legs and butt and are important for glute activation, but more importantly because they can help treat as well as prevent pain. Hip abduction exercises include things like standing abductions, clamshells, lying leg lifts, banded side steps and more. You should include at least one of these exercises in your on the go lower body workout, going for a real good burn: think like 20-30 reps.
Lower body training is an integral part of a well-rounded workout routine, and with these moves, you can get it done anywhere, anytime!