Let me tell you a secret: Squats and lunges are not the magic ingredients for getting a better butt. Yes, they’re both *great* lower-body exercises that recruit tons of muscles, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of boosting your glutes. That’s great news if you have knee pain, because you can do all these booty-blasting moves without worrying about bugging your knees. (Must-read: 4 Reasons Why You Have Pain Behind Your Knee) More
Many of us spend our nighttime hours flailing from side to side, flipping from stomach to back, yanking covers, doubling flat pillows, putting on socks, taking socks off, etcetera, etcetera. So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we wake up feeling a little bit…discombobulated. And even those of us who sleep peacefully need a good stretch after 7 to 9 hours of zzzs—all that time on your back is bound to make you feel a little creaky. Here, a 5-minute stretching routine that will start your day off right.
These aren’t your average lunges.
by: Alexa Tucker | Self.com
Lunges are a fantastic compound exercise to target your legs and glutes, but if you rely on the same movement to work your lower body in every workout, you might be hampering the butt-strengthening benefits of the exercise. You can avoid this by mixing in different lunge variations, explains David Juhn, CPT, personal training manager at Life Time Athletic at Sky in NYC.
“The body can adapt to same sequence of exercise over time,” says Juhn. “It’s important to constantly challenge our bodies with different movements.” Changing things up can help avoid fitness plateaus, whether your goal is to gain strength or lose fat.
Plus, many lunge variations incorporate other fitness benefits, including twists that work your core and plyometric jumps that jack up your heart rate. “[Variations] can turn normal mundane workout to dynamic and challenging routines,” says Juhn. Here are seven amazing ones that will make your regular lunge envious.
Step Up With Reverse Lunge
“This entire sequence demands coordination, balance, and core stability,” says Juhn.
- Stand in front of a box or step, about one foot away.
- Step up with your left foot and drive your right knee up towards your chest.
- Step your right foot back to the starting position and step your left back into a lunge, lowering your knee toward the ground (make sure your right knee doesn’t go past your right toes).
- Step your left leg back onto the step or box to repeat the movement.
Reverse Lunges With Dumbbell Twist
Adding a medium-weight dumbbell to a reverse lunge requires more muscle recruitment, and more energy spent means more calories burned, says Juhn.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell at chest height.
- Take a big step back with your left foot and bend your knees to lower into lunge while twisting your torso over your right (front) leg.
- Return to standing.
This variation adds in an abs challenge, and the jump will raise your heart rate for a cardio boost, too.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Lunge back with right foot, bending both knees 90 degrees.
- Straighten left leg and jump into the air while driving right knee up in front of body.
- Immediately lower right foot back into a lunge.
Front Lunge With Twist
“[This is a] fun way to incorporate abs and balance work while doing a lunge,” says Juhn.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and arms at shoulder-height, elbows bent to form a goal post around your head.
- Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend your knees to lower into lunge while twisting your torso over your right leg.
- Return to standing.
This plyometric exercise uses ~explosive~ power to raise your heart rate and incorporate some extra cardio into your workout.
- Starting standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Jump your left leg forward and your right leg back into a lunge, with both knees at 90 degrees.
- Jump up and switch your legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with your right leg in front.
- Continue jumping back and forth, pausing as little as possible.
Curtsy Lunges With Kick
This variation is especially great for targeting your hips, too.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Step your left leg diagonally behind your right leg and bend your knees to lower into a lunge.
- Push through your right heel to stand, and sweep left leg out to side.
Single-Arm Reverse Lunge And Press
This compound exercise works both your lower and your upper body at the same time, explains Juhn.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart with your left hand on your hip. Hold the weight at your right shoulder with your right palm facing your body.
- Take a big step back with your right foot and bend your knees to lower into lunge. While you step back, straighten your right arm to press the dumbbell overhead.
- Return to standing and lower the weight back to your right shoulder.