After more than 10 years of working with personal training clients, there is one simple move that I've witnessed transform the strength, tone and appearance of countless clients and that I now include it in my own daily workout. Put me in a gym with the most high-tech equipment, nifty proprioception devices, vibrating platforms or any other incredible gizmos and you will find me off in the corner doing this simple move from exercise 101.
Hands down, no question, the absolutely most effective move that I include in my workout is the lunge. Prehistoric? Maybe. But the results are undeniable.
Whether you desire to lift your tush, slim down your thighs, strengthen your core or whittle your waistline, l say ... lunge, baby, lunge.
Here's how you do it:
1. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, standing completely upright.
2. Maintain a straight spine with your stomach pulled inwards and take a big step forward with your left leg.
3. Bend your left knee as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. You should be on the ball of your right foot with the majority of your weight pressing through the heel of your left foot.
4. Push your left heel off of the ground, mentally connecting to your glutes (aka: tush) and return to standing upright.
5. Repeat the movement, leading with your right leg.
6. Perform three sets of 15 lunges on each side.
Here are the top five reasons I love to lunge and you should too:
1. They sculpt a lovely derriere!
2. They improve your posture. Working to maintain a straight spine as you move through the lunges challenges your back extensors and your deep stabilizing abdominal muscles.
3. They increase symmetry in your body. Nearly everyone has a dominant side and lunges give you the opportunity to identify which side is your weaker link. If you notice that the exercise is a greater challenge on one side, do a few extra on that side in an effort to create better balance in your body.
4. They help to stretch your hip flexors. In a proper lunge, you are lengthening the front line of your leg that is in the back position. This position helps reverse the tightness that happens from long hours of sitting at a desk or driving.
5. Lunges are free, require no equipment, and can be done anywhere.
Translation: there are NO excuses for not doing this exercise daily! So, ready, set, go!