Fitness

A Leg and Shoulder Workout To Build Strength

You’ve made it to the second full-body strength day of the SELF New Year’s Challenge! And you’re in for a treat—a leg and shoulder workout that hits several major muscle groups. We’ll alternate between lower-body and upper-body work to keep your muscles guessing. And because you’re not working the same (or even similar) muscles back-to-back, you should be able to challenge yourself when choosing your weight, which will help you get stronger.

In the first four moves in this strength circuit, you’ll work your quads, back, hamstrings, and shoulders, before ending on a butt-specific note with the donkey kick. The donkey kick is a real glutes scorcher, since it targets the largest of your three glute muscles—the gluteus maximus—which is responsible for extension of the hip. While the goblet squat and Romanian deadlift (which are compound exercises, meaning they work multiple muscles) certainly work your butt, too, the donkey kick, which is an isolation move, really gets in there good.

Glutes work is super important for many of us. If you spend a lot of time sitting (hello, endless Zoom meetings), your hip flexors can shorten and tighten, which leads to your butt muscles not firing properly or as optimally as they should. When the glutes—we’re also talking about the two other butt muscles here, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus—are out of whack, it can force other muscles in both your back and lower body to overcompensate. The result: the potential for a host of issues, including lower-back, knee, and hip pain as well as muscle imbalances throughout your body. This circuit will definitely put your glutes to the test. (If you want an even greater burn, you can use a mini-band for the donkey kick to increase the challenge.)

Also, a quick reminder: Please don’t forget to warm up prior to each session. It’ll help you get your muscles moving through a larger range of motion so you can get the most out of every single exercise. And it really only requires an extra five minutes on top of your workout. Seriously, it’s worth it. Here’s a good one that will get you primed to take on today’s leg and shoulder workout.

Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s full-body dumbbell workout that’ll really hit your shoulders, legs, and butt!

The workout below is for day 11 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. 

WORKOUT DIRECTIONS

Aim for 8–12 reps of each exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest 60–90 seconds after each round. Complete 2–5 rounds total.

EXERCISES

  • Goblet Squat
  • Pullover
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Lateral Raise
  • Donkey Kick

BONUS MOVE

After your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.


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