If you’re new to exercise or have some experience, these classic legs and buttocks routines will quickly get you hopping to the next level.
Spending too much time doing isolation exercises for the arms or lying on the floor doing various ab routines, neglects the lower body.
Whether your goal is fat loss, stronger joints, stronger muscles, tighter muscles, shapelier or bigger muscles, greater fitness or disease prevention, here are some timeless exercises you need to add—timeless because cavemen actually performed these exercises, in one form or another.
Squat – Cavepeople squatted all the time, which meant they often rose from a squatting position, frequently with a weighty object like a rock or a carcass in their hands. Squats work the entire lower body including the lower back, and even the abs.
They can be done with a barbell (free or tracked device), dumbbells, a kettlebell, or with bodyweight only.
Beginners: Do bodyweight squats first, going down to a 90-degree knee bend, to get the feel of this exercise. Face the edge of an open door, place hands lightly on both knobs for balance, and start squatting, keeping an arch in the low back, and the rest of the back upright.
Once you get the hang of these, let go. Hold dumbbells with straight arms. At the gym, have a personal trainer instruct you in tracked barbell squats.
Intermediate: The same rules apply, except the difference is the amount of added resistance, plus use of a free barbell. If you’ve been training a while but have never done barbell squats, it’s time to start.
Deadlift – Cave-dwellers did deadlifts when they picked up heavy objects. Beginners can do deadlifts but should start with very light weights and have a personal trainer instruct them in proper form. Form deviations with enough resistance can result in lower back injury.
Deadlifts work just about every muscle in the upper body, but hit the lower body in particular. They can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, weight plates or kettlebells.
Beginners: An empty bar can be used at first, just to practice the form. The form is rather complicated, so it’s helpful to get instruction from a personal trainer.
Intermediate: Even if you’ve been training a while, if you haven’t been doing deadlifts, be careful and don’t get ahead of yourself.
Decline leg press – The entire back is stabilized by the decline leg press machine, so the only form elements are to never lock out the knees, and to always keep feet flat on the sled. The difference between beginners and intermediates is the amount of weight pressed.
The squat, deadlift and leg press are the top three lower body exercises, and when performed properly and intensely, they will slash fat, dramatically increase strength and change the shape of your body.
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