When it comes to exercise, many of us tend to obsess over problem areas or focus only on cardio to burn calories. Lower body strength, however, is crucial not only in our quest for the perfect body, but also in maintaining overall health.
Many people tend to ignore exercises that target lower body muscles, like calves or hamstrings, because it takes much longer to notice results in these areas. Arms and shoulders, on the other hand, tend to bulk up quickly when you train them regularly. But who wants big arm and chest muscles propped on skinny legs? If you’ve been neglecting your lower-half, here are some key benefits of building lower body strength.
Improve Agility and Balance
Some of the largest muscles are found in the hips, butt and legs. These foundational muscle groups are responsible for stabilizing your entire body. By strengthening your lower core, you’ll improve agility and balance. This means you’ll be able to avoid falls and injuries during workouts, and be more limber when going about your daily activities. Strengthen your lower body to avoid muscle imbalances, which will result in a more well-rounded workout.
Meanwhile, for those who play football, rugby or basketball -- a sturdy lower body can help improve athletic performance. These sports rely heavily on power generated from the body’s lower-half, which is why good leg strength is key. By dedicating just one or two days a week to lower body exercises, you’ll notice big improvements in your overall fitness levels.
For those who enjoy a good cardio workout, lower body strength training can help you run longer and faster. Athletes who play squash, tennis or soccer often notice a huge improvement in their game once their legs are more stable.
Deadlifts and squats are very good for improving your endurance levels. They’re also excellent for working muscle groups you didn’t even know existed. Although it may seem like leg strengthening exercises will only benefit your lower-half, they will actually give your body more power all over.
Boost Stamina and Metabolism
Even if you have no plans to run a marathon, good stamina can make everyday activities feel like a breeze. Increased stamina is directly related to the strength of your lower body muscles. A Sturdy hips and legs will help you power through your exercise routine or run daily errands with little effort. By strengthening these muscle groups, you’ll also burn more calories throughout the day. This is a huge bonus for those trying to lose weight.
Because lower body strength training requires you to work harder, this is more effective than just doing cardio. At your next gym session, use weights to boost your metabolism and get those muscles working.
Strengthening your lower body can reduce overall muscle pain. That’s because weakness in the muscle tissue can cause painful knots. If you spend a lot of time hovering over a computer or lifting heavy objects, lower body exercises can help you avoid the discomfort associated with excess strain. You’ll also notice a major improvement in your overall posture because lower body muscles stabilize your entire core. This will help you avoid back and neck pain, which are typical symptoms of poor posture.
Improve Bone Health
The painful effects of arthritis and osteoporosis can be minimized by maintaining lower body strength. Bone joints, particularly in the legs, tend to deteriorate as we age. Deadlifts, calf raises and leg presses are especially effective in building bone strength. If you already suffer from poor bone health, speak to a qualified trainer to get the most out of your lower body workouts and prevent muscle damage.
Tips for Lower Body Workouts
The type of strength training you’ll do will largely depend on your fitness goals. Before engaging in any kind of exercise, be sure to stretch your muscles. Avoid warm-ups where you simply hold a stretch. Instead, perform stretches that involve continuous movements -- like touching your toes then reaching up towards the ceiling.
Once the muscles are loosened up, follow these tips to maximize your lower body workouts:
- Rotate the number of sets and weights you perform, so your body does not get used to same old routine
- Get the basics down first; fewer exercises that are mastered correctly will offer greater benefits
- Always keep an eye on your knee alignment and overall posture
- Deadlifts, squats and lunges are the most efficient leg exercises that will give you the best results
If you’d like more guidance on building lower body strength, consider checking in with a Physiotherapist, Kinesiologist or Personal Trainer at Physiomed. Our team of qualified health experts can help you create a customized exercise program that targets your specific needs. We offer ongoing support and regular reviews to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
For more information on building lower body strength or to book an assessment, contact us here.