There’s no better day than lower body, booty day, right? (At least in my head—it’s my favorite!). Regardless of preference in upper body, lower body and core work, there’s no denying that working your lower body, such as the legs and glutes, is incredibly important towards improving muscular strength and overall fitness.
Your legs and butt muscles are to thank for a large part of your daily activity and work, and building strong, lean muscle can help you move more at ease and protect your bones as you age, which can lower your risk of low bone density too.
And while you definitely must make time to strength train the lower body with heavier weights, as that’s where you really get those bone-boosting benefits, cardio work is very effective in getting your heart rate up fast, blasting immediate calories during the workout, and still creating and defining muscle in your lower body area.
Here are the best lower body cardio moves to try to help firm up your butt and glute muscles as well as lean out and better sculpt your legs.
Ditch heavy weights and let your arms fly free as you jump high into the air for a jump, or air squat. You’ll use your arms and lower body muscles as momentum to lift yourself up off the ground and into the air, before landing gently back into a squat position.
Repeat this a few times for a quick cardio burst! Just be sure to maintain form and get right back down into squat position with each landing before exploding upwards again. That is how you feel the burn.
For more of a challenge, add in a smaller, lighter weight to hold as you jump. This adds a bit more resistance and cardio effects without weighing or slowing you down. If it makes it harder to jump as high or fast then don’t use the weight.
Alternate lunges by jumping from one lunge position on one leg to the next—right to left, alternating, for a few reps. Lunges are great for reaching the butt and legs, especially the back lunge.
For variety, do steady lunge jumps on isolated legs for a few reps to really give each leg and butt a burn out. You can do forward or back lunge pulses, or try both together.
Instead of doing a basic squat jump straight up and into the air, do a 180-flip squat jump. This also torches your butt and legs and spikes your heart rate. Turn 180-degrees with each jump and land for a few reps. For the extra challenge, hold a small and light weight again, if you’re able to maintain your speed.
As you tuck, where you tuck your knees in towards your chest, you’re hitting those lower body butt and glute muscles hard. The jump gives the cardio aspect to blast calories and keep the heart rate high. Do a few reps in a row or a tabata exercise of them as “sprint” work.
If you suffer from bad knees, you might want to avoid this exercise though, as it can put pressure on the knees. Land softly as you come back down to the floor in between each rep.