As with any fitness journey, establishing an end goal is essential. If you want to blast body fat and get lean, for instance, your focus should be on body composition and the amount of lean body mass you have compared to fat mass, Tonal coach Ash Wilking explains. Sculpting lean muscle and boosting your resting metabolic rate is key, and the experts have you covered with some simple yet incredibly effective exercises to melt lower-body fat fast.
Keep in mind that spot reduction, or targeting a specific area of your body for fat loss, is a myth. You can strengthen the muscles in your lower body, increase the intensity of your exercises, and clean up your eating habits with the goal of reducing fat all over your body, not just in one particular area. That being said, lower-body exercises play a massive role in all areas of your movement.
When it comes to the most beneficial form of training to melt lower-body fat (and support total-body fat loss), strength training is the name of the game. According to Ronny Garcia, CPT, Blink Fitness, some efficient examples of strength exercises include deadlifts, step-ups, glute bridges, and squats. “These exercises will help tone and strengthen the lower body muscles,” he explains. “[They] will also help build lean muscle mass and enhance overall lower-body strength.”
So without delay, let’s move into these simple yet effective exercises to melt lower-body fat fast. And when you’re finished reading, check out the 8 Best Strength Exercises for Faster Abdominal Fat Loss that Get Your Heart Pumping.
Garcia says the jumping jack is an excellent cardio exercise that will bring your heart rate up while activating your lower body.
To get started, stand tall with your feet together and your arms at the sides of your body. Then, jump your feet out to the side while lifting your arms overhead. In a speedy fashion, jump your feet back in while lowering your arms to your sides. Perform two to three sets of jumping jacks for 30 to 60 seconds.
Next up, the glute bridge is another recommendation from Garcia that will put both your glutes and hamstrings to work.
Lie flat on your back, bend your knees, and plant your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Keep your arms by your sides. Push through your feet in order to press your hips up. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Then, lower your hips back down toward the ground. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Gear up to engage your quads and glutes with step-ups. You can work with a step, sturdy bench, or platform for this move.
Begin by taking a step onto the platform with your left foot. Press through that heel in order to bring your body up. Then, step onto the platform with your right foot. Step off the platform with your left foot, then your right foot. Repeat as you alternate your leading foot. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Lunges are the final exercise recommended by Garcia. This move engages your quads, hamstrings, and glutes for an excellent lower-body movement.
To set up, place your feet shoulder-width apart on the ground. Step forward with your left foot, and descend into a lunge until your left knee is at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your back stays straight as you press through your left foot to rise back up. Repeat on the other side. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps per leg.
“Any deadlift is a powerhouse lower-body move that targets the glutes and hamstrings while engaging your core and building strength in the hips, which are often weaker due to long periods of sitting,” Wilking explains. “This is a safer version of the traditional barbell deadlift because the wider stance allows you to get deeper into the lift.”
Begin by taking hold of the bar, positioning it in front of your thighs with your arms extended. Plant your feet outside shoulder-width with your toes pointed out just a bit. Press your hips back, and bend your knees to lower the bar, making sure your core stays activated. Keep your back straight as you push through the floor to stand back up.
“Stability elements added to the main lift make the exercises feel new [and] exciting, and by decreasing the load, we’re able to place the intensity in adding more volume,” says Wilking. “A racked offset squat will need to place emphasis on anti-arterial flexion, aka obliques! While still utilizing the lower body and glutes, we increase the heart rate big time on this one!”
Perform the racked offset squat by positioning your feet shoulder-width apart. Lengthen one of your arms ahead of you, and hold a kettlebell in your opposite hand at shoulder height. Bend both knees, press your hips back, and descend into a squat. Push through the ground in order to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
“[The suitcase deadlift is] a bi-lateral lower-body movement with an offset resistance,” Wilking tells us. “This compound move will target more of the glutes as opposed to the racked offset squat which will engage a bit more quads.”
Set up for the suitcase deadlift by standing tall with either a dumbbell or kettlebell planted on the floor at the side of your foot. Place your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and hinge forward to take hold of the weight as if you’re picking up a suitcase. Press your hips forward to rise back up with the weight in hand. Lower with control. Repeat the same movement on the opposite side.