A lunge will work your abs, your back, hamstrings, quadriceps, and your hip flexors all in one movement. Not only is this a great movement to incorporate in your warm-up routine, as it helps to initiate and increase blood flow to our major muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings, quads) and stretches the hip flexor, a muscle that is often tight due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
Lunges help to improve balance and increase strength in one of our most essential and basic movements that we do every day: walk. This exaggerated walking motion is a great one to master and is easily modified into something more challenging by adding weights to the movement. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward, making sure the knee stays above the ankle and at a 90-degree angle to the ground. If space allows, move forward, alternating legs. If not, push back against the bent leg to return to a standing position.
Side lunges are a great exercise because they are a lateral movement. So often we’re moving in one direction: forward. To improve strength and balance, we also need to work on side-to-side motions. A side lunge will work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner thighs, and abs. This is a great bodyweight exercise that is a combination of a stretch and strengthening move.
Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands to your side. As you step sideways into the lunge, bring your hands together in front of you as you bend your stationary leg at the knee and extend the other leg out to the side. Do not overstep here; this isn’t a super big movement. Keep your back straight and your glutes pushed out behind you. Repeat on one side then switch, or alternate from one side to the other.
A curtsy isn’t just for royalty, it’s for royally working those glute muscles! In this surprisingly simple yet effective move, the star of the show is the gluteus but also your hips and inner thighs.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step back and across with one leg, bending the forward knee as well as the back knee. Bring your hands to center as you squat down. Your forward leg will push up out of the squat while the back leg returns to center. Repeat on the same side or alternate. You may not be meeting royalty soon, but you’ll certainly be prepared, should the occasion arise!
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