I love strength training and it’s my favorite way to train - that’s right; just recently it’s even won out over high intensity interval training (or HIIT). It’s versatile, arguably the most effective way to train for results, and adaptable to literally any possible fitness level.
I keep seeing trainers (unfortunately trainers with very large audiences) telling women to only lift with “low weight and high reps”, and to be honest, I think this is terrible advice. I mean it’s a great plan if you don’t actually want to build functional strength or a capable, healthy body. And who needs to be able to function physically, as long as you can take hundreds of flattering mirror selfies in your bikini?! I digress.
Ideally you train for both strength and endurance, using a combination of routines with low weight/high reps, as well as high weight/low reps (you can find these integrated training strategies in both our workout videos and our programs). In any case, not only is the aforementioned advice inaccurate, it's also counterproductive to someone trying to lose weight or burn fat. Heavy weight with lower repetitions is actually more effective for losing weight and keeping it off due to the metabolic bump you get from lifting a weight that is challenging, as well as the lean muscle you can build, which makes for a faster metabolism around the clock. Aside from the physical changes strength training offers, following the high rep/low weight advice would shortchange you of a good portion of the many, many (many) health benefits of lifting - some of which are particularly important for women's health. While I'm ranting, it's important to point out that "lifting heavy" is completely relative to each person; if you struggle completing 8 reps of an exercise using 3 lbs; congrats, you are officially lifting "heavy" relative to your own strength and that's great!
For this workout I didn’t use a pre-planned routine; instead I improvised as I would during my own home workouts. The result is a muscle burning strength workout that gives your core and lungs a good working over, as well. This superset style butt and thigh workout is a fat burning powerhouse. Additionally, this is a great workout for correcting muscle imbalances in the lower body, due to the number of exercises that work the legs independent of one another. Because many of the exercises put such a heavy demand on balance, the core muscles also get a thorough workout. For this workout, I encourage you to lift to challenge yourself. By the last couple of reps, you should be struggling and really feeling those muscles burn.
I am using a basic step for the exercises in this routine but really anything can be modified to serve this purpose; stairs or steps, a low table, a jump box; basically anything that provides a little elevation - just make sure that whatever you choose is nice and solid so that you can avoid preventable injuries.
All of the moves we do in the warm up are similar to what we will be doing during our actual workout; an important factor in making sure that your muscles are appropriately prepared for the work that lies ahead.
Warm up cardio included - links to cool downs below
Butt and Thigh Workout - 8 Reps unless otherwise noted - 2 Sets each; ABAB format
Squats (Kelli is using 32 lbs or 14.5 kg total)
Alternating Step Ups (Kelli is using 32 lbs or 14.5 kg total)
Stand Ups/Assisted Pistol/Pistol Squat (Kelli is using 16 lbs or 7.3 kg total)
Alternating Single Leg Deadlifts (Kelli is using 24 lbs or 10.9 kg total)
Squat + Reverse Lunge (Kelli is using 32/24 lbs or 14.5/10.9 kg total)
Side Step Up (Kelli is using 12/0 lbs or 5.4 kg total)
Deadlifts (Kelli is using 40 lbs or 18.1 kg total)
Clean & Press (Kelli is using 20 lbs or 9.1 kg total)
Suggested cool down stretching routines:
- 5 Minute Total Body Cooldown - Compound Movements for a Total Body Stretch
- 13 Minute Cool Down Workout - Cool Down Stretching Routine
It’s very motivating to feel yourself not only getting stronger, but also noticing improvements in balance, coordination, and overall control of your own body. Strength training is a long term investment in your health and in maintaining a healthy bodyweight; for best results and the most health benefits, make sure that you don't exclude it from your routine.