Toning Your Lower Body*
(In this section, the term toning is used to denote strength training)

Hips,  buttocks, legs and thighs are the areas where many women carry excess weight and therefore put most of their body toning efforts.  For them,  lower body workouts are undertaken to tighten and tone their "problem areas."  Also see What is Toning and Toning Your Body.

As well as improving the shape and appearance of your lower body, strong legs and buttocks make everyday endeavours easier, from aerobic workouts and sport sessions to household chores, climbing stairs and standing for extended periods of time. Building leg muscle also helps to raise your metabolism, enabling  you to burn more calories throughout the day.

To tone your lower body
Three times each week, perform two sets / three sets of the lower body exercises detailed below
 
1. Body Lift   
Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 20 reps
    High - 30 reps
Lay on your back and place the heels of your feet on a chair.  Keeping your shoulders on the floor, squeeze your buttocks together and raise your body up as far as it will go. Pause.. then lower your body as close to the floor as possible, without actually touching it.

2 Power Lunges.

Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 20 reps
    High - 30 reps
 
This exercise will require a pair of 5kg dumbbells. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet together. Your are going to take one large step forward and transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot. Take the step and at the same time lower your body, taking care to ensure that a) your knee remains just behind your toes and b) that your abdominals are held firmly and c) that your hips are positioned straight forwards.  Direct your weight on the heel of your front foot, thereby working the buttock muscles. Push backwards slowly with your front leg until you are in a standing position again.   Repeat the exercise using the other leg.

3 Single Ball Curl

Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 12 reps
    High - 20 reps

This exercise will require a stability ball.  Lay on the floor, place both arms at your side, ensuring that your palms are facing downwards.  Place one of your feet in the centre of the ball and hold the other foot in the air above it.  Pull your leg and the ball towards you, by applying slight pressure to the ball with your heels. Keep your head and upper body still While you are doing this manoeuvre. Pause, then slowly return to the start position.  Repeat the exercise using the other leg.

 

4. Step Squat

Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 20 reps
    High - 30 reps

Swat (sitting position) in front of a chair, step or bench and place one of your feet on the raised surface, ensuring that your raised knee is at a right angle to the lower foot. Keep looking straight ahead and push up through your body, until you are able to  place your other foot on the raised platform.  Repeat the exercise using the other leg.

 

5. Hip Abduction Raise

Fitness levels:-
    Moderate  - 12 reps
    High - 18 reps

Lie on your side and raise your body by  resting it on your elbow, forearm and outer foot. Raise the upper leg up and down, thereby working the hip. Repeat the exercise using the other leg.

 

 

*Always consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional before embarking on any exercise programme.