My Top 5 Lower Body Exercises to do Instead of Squats

Of course squats are great, but here are a few other options.

March 7, 2022

Of course squats are great, but here are a few other options. Hip mobility and strength are essential for everyday activities like bending down to pick up something or walking up the stairs. Let’s make sure as we age we can continue to easily get out of chairs while of course continuing to shape those Glutes!

* For more exercises or guidance come to a class or book a training session with a certified trainer.

#1 - Glute Bridge

Lying on the floor, these use the hip extensors muscles in a position that is safe for both the back, knees and neck. To increase the challenge add a weight on top.

Variations include a ball between your knees and a resistance band just above the knees. Start lying down, bend the knees so your heels are directly under your hips. Gather in your abdominal muscles to keep the low back stable, then push up towards the ceiling. Focus on pushing through your heels as you lift up. Be mindful to push up all the way up; but not so far that you arch your back. 15-20 reps.

#2  - Step Ups

Stepping up onto a box is a great way to create stability and use all of the muscle of the lower body. Use a box that is the same height or slightly lower than your knees. Make sure it is stable, not tippy. When you step up with one leg, lift the other up to 90 degrees and pause, this essential for using the entire muscle. Lower all the way back down and switch sides. To increase the challenge grab some dumbbells. Repeat 5-10 on each side.

#3 - Reverse Lunges

Reverse or rear lunges are easier on the knees. Start standing up tall, step back a medium distance, so your back knee lowers towards the ground, but doesn’t quite touch. Lower with intention, keep it controller and keep most of the weight in the front leg.

Watch that the knee stays stable over the ankle (not forward or inwards). Return to standing. Alternate or do all the reps on one side, then the other. Add Dumbbells, rocker boards etc. to increase the challenge. 5-10 on each side.

#4 - Side (Lateral) Lunges

For these you use your hips and outer thigh muscles, quads and get a stretch for the inner thighs all at the same time. Start standing tall, step to the side, with your knee directly over your ankle, other leg stays straight. As your right foot hits the ground push your hips back towards the wall behind you. Take the outside hand down towards the outside of your knee (eventually the outside of your foot). Return to standing. The reaching motion puts extra emphasis on your glutes. 10 or more on each side. To increase the challenge hold a Dumbbell or Kettle Ball in the outside hand.

#5 - Advanced Glute Bridge on the Stability Ball

This is the same idea as the Glute Bridge above, but on the Stability Ball instead. Start seated on the ball, walk forward pressing your low back into the ball. Continue until just your head and shoulders are on the Ball. Knees are

directly over the ankles and feet point straight ahead. Drop your hips down towards the floor while pressing into your heels, drive the hips back up. Pause. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged to keep your lower back safe and stable. Think of your tailbone lengthening towards your knees while you complete the exercise. Add weight over the hips to create more challenge. Add a band or small ball between the knees for a variation. 10-20 Reps


Recent Posts