The Lower-Body Workout for Active Exercisers

By Micaela Young |

Stabilize your entire body from the ground up with this easy-to-follow routine.

Your bottom half has a big job. For starters, it’s the foundation that supports your torso. Your legs and glutes are also the reason you can walk, get up from a chair, or take the stairs with ease—not to mention all the fun activities that wouldn’t be possible without a stable base, like hiking, playing tennis, or running around with your grandkids.

The bottom line: Your lower body deserves some extra attention.

This lower-body workout from SilverSneakers LIVE instructor Andi does exactly that, targeting your legs, glutes, and hips to boost strength and stability below the belt.

How the Lower-Body Workout for Active Exercisers Works

All you need is some open floor space and a sturdy chair. For best results, Andi suggests doing this workout on two nonconsecutive days per week.

You can simply press play and follow along with the video, or check out the exercise pointers below.

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

1. March

Prepare your muscles by walking in place, swinging your arms gently.

2. Squat Rock

Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Keep one hand on the chair for balance, if you want. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, keeping your chest lifted and your weight in your heels.

From here, lift your heels and rock forward onto the balls of your feet. Push your heels down and squeeze your glutes to return to standing.

Make it easier: Do a shallow squat.

Make it harder: Lower deeper into the squat, or let go of the chair.

3. Reverse Lunge

Stand tall and shift your weight to one foot. Lift your knee on the opposite side and take a big step back, so you’re in a wide split stance. Adjust your weight so that your shoulders are over your hips. Your back heel should be lifted.

From here, slowly lower down as far as you’re comfortable. Then, push off your back foot and take a big step in to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Place a hand on the chair for balance.

Make it harder: Lower deeper into your lunge.

4. Plié Squat

Stand tall with your feet wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed out. Keeping your chest up and your shoulders above your hips, slowly lower straight down. Keep your weight in your heels and stop when your knees are over your ankles.

From here, squeeze your inner thighs and glutes to return to standing.

Make it easier: Keep a hand on the chair for balance, and lower down only as far as you’re comfortable.

5. Hip Hinge

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Push your hips back as you lower your chest toward the floor, keeping your spine long. Let your arms lower in front of you as you hinge, stopping when they’re at about knee level.

From here, squeeze your glutes and push through your heels to return to standing.

Make it easier: Keep your hinge shallow.

Make it harder: Hold light weights.

6. Side Lunge

Begin in a wide stance with toes pointing forward. Lunge to one side by pushing your hips back and bending one knee, keeping the other leg lengthened. Slowly lower down, keeping your chest lifted and your weight in the heel of your bent leg.

From here, push through that heel and squeeze your glutes to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Rest your hand on the chair for balance and assistance.

Make it harder: Tap your foot in next to your standing leg each time you push back up to standing.

7. Narrow to Wide Squat

Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat.

Staying in your squat position, step out wide with one foot, bring the other foot in to meet it, and then squeeze your glutes to stand back up. Repeat by stepping out wide in the opposite direction.

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Make it easier: Keep your squats shallow and your side steps small.

Make it harder: Squat lower or take bigger side steps.

8. Donkey Kick

Stand tall and place a hand on your chair for balance. Engage your core by pulling your belly button in. Shift your weight to one foot. Lift the opposite foot a few inches off the floor. Hinge forward slightly at your hips as you push the lifted heel behind you to extend your leg. Think about pushing something away from your body.

From here, bring the extended leg back in to return to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Tap your foot on the floor each time you draw it in.

Make it harder: Keep your foot lifted as you draw it back in, and raise your knee toward your chest.

9. Standing Side Leg Raise

Stand tall next to your chair with your feet about hip-width apart. Place one hand on the chair for balance as you shift your weight to one leg and lift the opposite leg out to the side. Keep your raised foot flexed and lead with your heel, and then lower back down. Repeat on the other side.

Try to keep your shoulders over your hips during the entire movement—no leaning forward or to the side.

Make it easier: Lift your leg only as high as you comfortably can. It’s more important to squeeze your hip muscles on both the upward and downward movements.

10. Calf Raise

Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Place a hand on your chair for balance. Rise up onto the balls of your feet quickly, and lower back down slowly.

Make it harder: Let go of the chair.

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