Today’s exercise works the lower body, focusing on the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. It’s a comprehensive move that targets bone density in the legs and ankle bones, plus it improves balance.
The Lower Body Builder also opens the hips, stretches the muscles of the lower body, and stabilizes the spine. And it feels fantastic!
Let’s take a closer look at the moves involved and why this is such a good exercise to build your bones.
The Lower Body Builder involves a sideways lunge, so it really stretches the inner thighs and hamstrings. Because you work one side at a time, the Lower Body Builder is a unilateral exercise, which makes it excellent for improving balance.
This exercise is so good at enhancing balance because it isolates the side-step, which is the exact same move you’d make to avoid stepping on something or tripping over an object. So in essence, it “teaches” your body to stay upright in those situations, by building muscle memory and strength.
Here are some of the muscles involved:
- Gluteus maximus, or buttocks muscles, which are the largest, heaviest muscles in the body. They are crucial for maintaining a stable gait and aligning the pelvis.
- The hamstrings, which criss-cross over the backs of the legs. Strong hamstrings are important for balance and spinal alignment. You use your hamstrings every time you bend your knees or extend your hips. Your hamstrings help you go down into a lunge and come back up again.
- This exercise stretches the hip flexors, which get tight when you sit down for long periods, which is the case for more and more people these days.
- The quadriceps are the muscles in the front of your thighs. They help bring you up and out of a knee-bend along with the hamstrings, and they play an important role in aligning the knee joint, femur, and pelvis.
As you work these muscles, the associated bones will be stimulated to increase in density, grow stronger and resist fracture: the femur, pelvis, tibia and fibula, ankle joint, and knee joint are all targeted with the Lower Body Builder.
There are even more benefits to doing moves like the Lower Body Builder.
More Advantages To The Lower Body Builder
- Unilateral exercises like this one work both sides of the body evenly, promoting a balanced gait and equal strength on both sides.
- Increased flexibility of the hips and hip flexors promote an aligned pelvis and lower back, and increase mobility overall.
- Today’s exercise enhances the stability of your core muscles, which, among their many jobs, keep your vertebrae and pelvic bones in alignment. Strong core muscles are essential for balance.
- The sideways lunging motion in today’s exercise helps decompress the spine and take some load off the vertebrae. This gives the muscles in the back a chance to relax and realign, too.
And It Gets Even Better!
The Lower Body Builder is a strength-training exercise, and according to a Tufts University study, postmenopausal women who participated in strength training twice a week for more than four months increased their strength by 75%, their balance by 13%, and bone density in the hips and spine by 1%.1
In sharp contrast, the control group actually lost bone density and showed decreased balance and strength. The study goes on to point out that strength training can greatly reduce the risk of falls.
In order to reap these wonderful benefits, it’s vital to perform the Lower Body Builder correctly. So let’s take a look at how to do it.
- Place your feet wide apart, as per the illustration. Make sure your toes are facing forward.
- Make a fist with one hand and place the fist inside the other hand, and hold your hands up to your chest. This gets your hands out of the way and places the shoulders and arms in the correct position for the exercise.
- Keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground, bend one knee and go down sideways into the bend. Go far enough that your elbow almost touches the bent knee. The other leg will get a comfortable stretch. Bring your hands up to your chin as you do this.
- Now come back up to the middle again, bringing your hands back to your chest.
- Next, go down into the other side, bringing your hands up to your chin again, for one rep.
- Do 10 reps, or whatever number is comfortable for you.
- Keep your back straight during the move and hinge at your hips, not the middle of your back.
- Don’t let your toes point outward as you go from side to side.
- Keep looking straight ahead.
- Keep the weight of your body in your heel as you bend your knee, and think of sitting back on your rear rather than rolling your weight forward into your toes.
- Feel free to hold on to a chair, stool, or other stable object as you get accustomed to the motion.
If you‘d like more of a challenge, you can perform this exercise with weights. Dumbbells, wrist weights, or even water bottles or soup cans will work. Bring the weights up to your chest as you go down into the lunge, and lower your arms when you come back up.
You can also do this exercise by holding just one weight with two hands.
How To Build Your Bones, Increase Your Strength And Improve Your Balance
In SaveTrainer, the Save Institute's online video workout platform, you will find strength-training moves that, as shown by the study mentioned earlier, build bone and improve balance, both of which are crucial elements in preventing fracture.
SaveTrainer offers a variety of classes focused on balance and coordination. In fact, SaveTrainer will design unlimited customized four-week fitness plans for you, based on a series of simple questions. Then you'll have a step-by-step process for attaining the protections discovered in the study we reviewed today.
With new videos continuously added, SaveTrainer keeps your workout fresh and engaging, helping you to maintain your fitness goals and prevent falls and fractures.
Please let the community know about your experience with the Lower Body Builder by leaving a comment below.
Enjoy the weekend!
1 Seguin, R.A., et al. “Strength training and older women: a cross-sectional study examining factors related to exercise adherence.” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 2010. Volume 18, Pages 201-218, ISSN 1063-8652. Web. https://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/faculty/publications/strength-training-and-older-women-cross-sectional-study-examining-factors-relat