You are here

8 Lower-Body Exercises Inspired by the Women's World Cup

  • Roborunner

    Adding a resistance band to mountain climbers builds lower-body strength, making your next 5K a piece of cake.

    Targets abs, obliques, butt, and hamstrings

    • Loop center of band around a stable post like a couch leg. Start on floor in plank position facing away from post, feet placed in handles like stirrups.
    • Alternately bring right and left knee in toward chest, not allowing toes of bent leg to touch floor.
    • Repeat for 1 minute and rest 20 seconds. Do 3 sets.

    Originally in 10 Exercises You Love to Hate

  • Warrior 3 Deadlift

    Tighten your tush (soccer players need a powerful booty to sprint, change directions, and leap), lengthen your hamstrings, and improve your balance with this exercise.

    Targets butt and hamstrings

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides, a dumbbell in each hand; place right foot behind you slightly, toes on mat.
    • Standing on left leg, knee slightly bent, hinge forward from hips as you raise right leg behind you until body is parallel to floor, arms hanging down.
    • Hold for 1 count, then return to start, tapping right foot down. Continue for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat.

    Originally in 8 Brilliant Ways to Exercise Your Core Without Even Realizing It

  • Ruby Slippers

    This leg-strengthening exercise is guaranteed to take you to new heights, whether or not you're head-butting a soccer ball.

    Targets butt, legs, inner thighs, and outer thighs

    • Place a coiled garden hose (or a rolled-up towel) on ground and straddle it, hands on hips.
    • Lower into a squat, then jump as high as you can and tap heels together in midair.
    • Land with knees soft in start position.
    • Repeat for 1 minute.
    • MAKE IT EASIER: Jump without tapping heels together or do move without the hose.

    Originally in 10 Exercises You Love to Hate

  • Toe Tap 360

    This quintessential soccer drill will boost your heart rate and bring you closer to that PR.

    Targets butt and legs

    • Place medicine ball on ground in front of you.
    • Alternately tap toes of left and right foot on top of ball, moving around it as fast as you can until you've made a complete circle.
    • Continue for 1 minute (or 30 taps), changing direction with each rotation.

    Originally in 10 Exercises That Will Warm You Up Instantly

  • Plié Squat Jump

    By repeating this movement, you'll develop explosive strength (and super-lean legs). Get ready to see your sprint speed soar.

    Targets abs, butt, and legs

    • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out. Lower into a deep plié squat with hands clasped in front of chest.
    • Jump as high as you can, tapping heels together in midair.
    • Land with knees soft in plié squat position.
    • Repeat for 45 seconds.

    Originally in 10 Exercises That Will Warm You Up Instantly

  • Outer and Inner Thigh Kick Stretch

    Ever seen a pro soccer player with saddlebags? Yeah, us neither. This exercise uses the momentum of your own body weight to target those hard-to-reach outer thighs.

    Targets outer and inner thighs

    • Stand holding the back of a chair. Press your shoulder blades back and down.
    • Come up onto the ball of your left foot, and lift your right leg.
    • Keeping your abs pulled in, bring your right leg across your body, in front of your left.
    • Now, swing it back out to the right, keeping your toes flexed and your toes turned out. Use momentum to swing through your leg as you fire through your left glutes.
    • Do 10 reps. Be sure to keep both hips facing forward.
    • Come onto the right leg and repeat for 10 more reps, again making sure your hips are facing forward.
    • Flex your foot as you use momentum to swing your left leg and fire through your right glutes.
    • Take a breather, then do a second set.

    Originally in Our Top 10 Thigh Exercises

  • Low-Squat Sprint

    This exercise builds up your lower legs (think: killer calves à la Abby Wambach), which are prone to muscle strains in soccer players.

    Targets butt, quads, calves

    • Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width, elbows bent by sides, palms facing forward.
    • Lower into a squat and, raising up on balls of feet, sprint in place.
    • Continue for 30 seconds as quickly as possible.

    Originally in 10 Exercises You Love to Hate

  • Pencil Squat

    The path to goal-making glory starts here! Shred your inner thighs with this high-energy squat exercise, which will give you the muscle power for quick multidirectional movements, like seamlessly weaving in and out of opponents as you dribble your way up the field. Or, you know, the killer confidence to wear bikini bottoms 24/7.

    Targets shoulders, abs, butt, inner thighs, calves

    • Stand with feet together, arms extended overhead.
    • Jump feet shoulder-width apart and squat, touching fingertips to floor between feet.
    • Jump up to return to start position, bringing feet together and pressing arms overhead.
    • Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.

    Originally in 8 No-Equipment HIIT Moves You Can Do in 30 Seconds