Legs for days!
I LOVE doing lower body exercises, which may or may not be a surprise, as I am definitely known for my arms! And while I do have a soft spot in my heart for upper body work, and there are plenty of aesthetic benefits to lower body exercises (hello, derriere!) I have very practical reasons for loving Leg Day.
So, I have some lower back issues that stem from a rotated pelvis and an L5 and S1 that want to be best friends. Therefore, it has become a big focus of mine to build stronger glutes and hamstrings in order to give my spine more support. I am naturally quad dominant (my quadriceps are large and in charge) so this has been a labour of love! Over the past year, I have cycled between two strategies to promote growth of my hamstrings and gluteal muscles:
* Light Weight / High Reps - choosing weights that are light enough for me to perform 15-20 repetitions of each lower body exercise
* Heavy Weight / Low Reps - increased weights to be able to get 8-12 repetitions from each exercise whilst maintaining perfect form
I have been utilizing one of these strategies for a month at a time over the past 12 months and the results have been incredible - not only are my glutes more shapely (thank you very much), my lower body more balanced and my legs more powerful, I now get very few flare-ups of lower back pain! In fact, I have been getting back into more High Intensity Interval Training workouts at home where I am jumping and leaping and throwing my body around, something that I would not have been able to do without pain this time last year! I'll take that win and run with it!
So, If you are struggling with lower back pain or issues in pain-free mobility, I strongly recommend that you look into ways of incorporating weight-bearing lower body and core control exercises into your regular routine. It will change your life, as long as you are smart, safe and seek the help of a fitness professional if you need it.
Here is a 'Leg Day' workout that I did this week;
Front Squat x10; 4 sets
Static Lunge Hop x10 (each leg) SUPERSET Single Leg Sit to Stand x8 (each leg); 3 sets
Sumo Deadlift x8 SUPERSET Jump Lunges x20; 3 sets
Hip Thrusts x8; 4 sets