Greetings, all! Can you believe it’s already March, and a VERY cold start to March. This month we are going to focus on the lower body (yes, our legs and our glutes). Before we look at exercises that target our lower bodies, let’s look at the muscles in that area so we can all understand a bit more about them.

As pictured below, the quadriceps, or quads, are the muscles located at the front of our thighs. These muscles allow us to extend our knees acting as a kind of pulley. This helps us to kick forward and helps us extend our legs forward when walking or running.

The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh. This muscle allows us to curl our knees while bring our feet toward our backsides (think of the cardio exercise called “butt kickers”). This muscle can affect lower back pain, as well. If you have lower back pain, you may have tight hamstrings.

The calves are located posteriorly (at the back of the body) in the lower leg. This muscle helps us point our toes, walk, and run by pulling our heel up to allow for forward movement.

Believe it or not, the gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius) help us to walk, run, and jump. The gluteus maximus is a large muscle that helps us extend our legs. These muscles also aid in climbing stairs or hills and jumping movements. These muscles help give us explosive jumping power, as well.Muscles_backLegs1a


Because we now understand more about some of the muscles we have in our lower body, we can have a better idea of why we exercise these muscles (not just to look good in shorts during the spring and summer seasons). Next week, we will look at some great lower body exercises to help strengthen and tone these muscles.

 Picture is from

-Hannah Miller ( exercise intern.)

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