Do you want to firm up those bingo wings, get a lil’ more lift in the booty and flatten that stomach ever so slightly, but have no clue where to start when it comes to actually achieving those goals? Welcome to the minds of most of us! When it comes to muscles, it can all be a bit of a guessing game, and we just sorta do what we’re told. Well, hopefully this article will put you a bit more in the know when it comes to your abs, quads and what you really gain when you go all-out with squats.

Girl in workout gear doing lunges

Compound exercises vs Isolation exercises

You may have heard of this age-old debate if you’re a regular at the gym, or you may have no idea what we’re on about. Either way, there’s a lot of faff around whether working groups of muscles (compound exercises), or just single muscles on their own (isolation exercises) is better for you. There isn’t really a single answer for this, as it depends on your personal goals, but you should defs take time to figure those out and research exercises that will give you the results you want.

For example, if you want to grow your glutes without growing your legs, squats probably aren’t the best option. We know, right? Minds blown. Squats are a compound exercise, so they’re gonna engage a lot of the muscles in your lower body. If you just want to bulk up the booty, you need to work it using glute isolation exercises like donkey kicks and weighted hip thrusts. These exercises are great at engaging the booty muscles without working the quads and hamstrings too much, so you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Upper body

If the most engagement your upper body gets is on the cross trainer, you might want to think about focusing on this muscle group more often. If you’re looking to tone-up your upper arms, tricep dips and bicep curls should be a part of your workout. And if you think back workouts are just for the boys, think again. Engaging your back muscles will really help improve upper body strength and can create some nice definition for bikini season. Try incorporating wide-grip lateral pull-downs and some rowing into your routine.

Core

You’re probs no stranger to a good ab workout, but there is more to your core than just the pack. Your lower back and oblique muscles are also super-important when it comes to improving your core strength, so don’t forget to give these muscles some engagement. Grab an exercise mat and do some swimmers – they are great for toning your lower back. And if you want to really work your obliques, try a side plank with hip lifts. It’ll burn, but it’s worth it!

Lower body

Everyone loves a squat – and for good reason! Squatting is a great compound exercise for building strength and stability in your lower body – but don’t be scared to switch it up a little. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands for a goblet squat – the weight will make it more challenging, so this is a good option if you’re going for less reps at a higher intensity. Alternatively, you can add a bit of movement. Place a resistance band around your ankles and get into a squat position. Step side to side for a crab-walk squat and stay as low as you can throughout the exercise.