A lot of the time, it’s easy to think of exercising as a way to help you lose weight. Cardio is great, but what about building muscle? Becoming fit isn’t about being thin, it’s about being healthy. So, instead of focusing on trimming down, here are a few exercises that will help you bulk up a bit, in terms of muscle mass.
These exercises all focus on your lower body. Your calves, thighs, butt, and even your hips will be toned with these moves. As an added bonus, none of these moves require any equipment, so you can do them virtually anywhere.
By working your gluteal muscles you can actually lift and tighten your butt. This may sound a bit strange, but your gluteal muscles are actually really easy to work out. As a plus, squats are also great for you thighs.
When doing a squat, you need to start with your feet anywhere from shoulder to hip width apart. After one squat you’ll be able to feel which position is most comfortable for you (this often depends on the strength of your knees). Once you are in this stance, squat down towards the floor with hands out in front of you. While doing this move you want to keep your upper body as straight as possible, and you want to stick you butt back behind you; keeping your butt back will help to keep the pressure off your knees. Make sure to do squats slowly to maximize the effect.
Although lunges are a pretty basic move, they are extremely effective. Lunges predominately work your butt, thighs, and hips, while having a smaller impact on your calves.
When doing a lunge, you want to stand with your feet facing forward. Then, step one foot forward (about two or three feet), and bend both knees so that your back knee is almost touching the floor; you want to keep your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle to avoid putting too much strain on your knee. After bending down, you should straighten your knee, and step back into your beginning stance. Now, switch legs. For an added workout, grab some hand weights and do a bicep curl each time you bend down.
These are generally easiest on an elevated surface, like stairs, so that you guarantee your heels are not going to touch the ground.
To start your calf raise, stand with only the balls of your feet on the stair step while holding onto the railing (the railing is only for balance, so don’t use it to pull yourself up); your feet should be hip-width apart. Raise yourself onto your toes and then slowly lower yourself back into the starting position. This move is super basic, so make sure to do multiple reps. If you want something more challenging, jumping rope is also a great calf strengthener, plus, you get in some cardio.
Standing Side Kick
This move will test your balance while also working your hips and butt.
Start by standing with feet hip-width apart, then slowly raise one leg up and to the side, until it reaches hip level, then hold. Your inner thigh should be parallel to the floor as you lift it and hold. After, slowly lower your leg back to the starting position, then repeat. Do multiple reps on both sides for an even workout.
These moves are really simply, but extremely effective. Because they require no equipment, they’re easy to do at home, or anywhere. If you continue to do them every week you’ll quickly notice the difference in your muscle tone!