Side lunges are an effective lower body exercise that strengthens and tones the quads, butt, and leg muscles. This exercise has you moving your body in a side-to-side movement which can help target small muscles in the hips and inner thighs that can be hard to get to because of their location.
Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your hands hanging down at your sides. Shift your weight back on your heels. Inhale an tighten your abs.
Step out to your right side (as pictured below) with both feet facing forward and your weight still centered on your left heel.
Once you have your right foot firmly planted, you can start shifting your weight to the right foot. Continue to bend your right knee and lunge forward until your right upper leg is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure to have both heels flat on the floor and use your arms for balance.
After pausing for just a second, exhale your breath and push off your right foot back to your starting position. Repeat the exercise to the other side.
Do 8-12 reps on each side
Kim Demonstrating the Side Lunge
There is a large increase in core activity for the individuals that fully engage their core muscles when they do lunges and squats.
Side Lunge and Overhead Press
Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold two dumbbells over your head with your arms straight up. Step to your right and lower into a side lunge as you bring the right dumbbell down to your right shoulder.
Pause for a count and put your weight on your right heel and push back up to your starting position, pressing the right dumbbell back to its overhead position. Repeat the exercise with your other side.
To get the most out of lunge exercises, it's important for you to use exceptional body form to avoid injuries and to work your muscles properly. You want to keep your back straight and try not to lean forward as you lower your body.
Make sure the leg you flex travels in the same line as the front toe, and don't let the knee extend past your toe. You want to be able to look down and see the toe is always ahead of the knee.
To make this exercise more challenging, you can hold a dumbbell directly in front of you as pictured.
Benefits of Side Lunges
Fat and calorie burning: Your body can become a fat burning machine doing lunges. You are doing a compound exercise, working your largest muscle groups at the same time.
Core Exercise: Your core is the connection center between your upper and lower body muscle groups. Your abs, hips, glutes, and lower back muscles make up your core muscle group. Any body movement depends on the core...even just walking. Exercises like lunges will increase your core strength for better posture and balance which can also prevent lower back pain.
Flexibility: These types of leg stretching exercises help the muscles in your hips and legs that tighten up from prolonged sitting. They are especially efficient for keeping your hip area muscles and joints flexible.
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