In order to ensure your lower body resistance training workouts are truly comprehensive, you not only want to do lower body exercises that primarily involve movement at the hip joint (e.g., deadlifts, but you also want to include lower body exercises that emphasize movement at the knee joint (e.g., squats and lunges), otherwise known as leg-oriented exercises. The five lower body exercises I’m highlighting below combine hip-oriented exercise and a leg-oriented exercise into one single, effective and efficient combination exercise.
Combination lower-body exercises, like the following five lower body combo moves, are not only a great way to get more done in less time, but they are also a great way to boost the metabolic effect of your workouts, since the metabolic cost of a given exercise relates directly to the amount of muscle worked (1).
As long as you bring the intensity by using challenging loads, these five combination exercises are a great way to spice up your workouts and give your legs and glutes a new challenge that can spark new gains.
1. Dumbbell Squat + Romanian Deadlift Combo
- As you hinge forward, drive your hips backward and do not allow your back to round out.
- Do not allow your knees to move inward toward the midline of your body. Keep your knees inline with your toes throughout.
2. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat + Single Leg Romanian Deadlift Combo
- Keep your weight on your front foot throughout the exercise.
- Do not allow your back to round out at any point.
3. Dumbbell Reverse Lunge + Anterior Lunge Combo
- One rep = reverse lunge left, reverse lunge right, anterior lunge left, anterior lunge right.
- Do not let the dumbbells touch the floor at any point during this exercise.
- Do not allow your back to round out at the bottom of each lunge.
4. Dumbbell Reverse Lunge + Step-up Combo
- Lean your torso slightly forward throughout the exercise to keep most of your weight on the front leg.
- This exercise can also perform this exercise using only body weight by placing the hands either on the hips or behind the head.
5. Dumbbell Reverse Lunge + Single-leg Romanian Deadlift Combo
- One rep = reverse lunge left, reverse lunge right, single leg Romanian Deadlift left, single leg Romanian Deadlift right.
- Keep your back straight as you hinge at your hips and lean your torso forward to better recruit the glute musculature and make the exercise more knee friendly.
- At the bottom position of the single-leg RDL (when your torso is roughly parallel to the ground), keep your hips and shoulders flat and do not allow them to rotate.
Final Programming Advice for Using these Exercises
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1. Ratamess NA, et al. Comparison of the acute metabolic responses to traditional resistance, body-weight, and battling rope exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jan;29(1):47-57.