Change up this overplayed classic and breathe new life into your lower-body routine.
As far as lower-body exercises go, lunges are one of the best for developing strength, building endurance and improving balance. But truth: They are also exceedingly boring. Use these four exercises to level up your lunges — and still keep a level head.
LEVEL 1: UNILATERALLY LOADED SPLIT SQUAT
The split squat helps develop balance and control while maintaining proper hip, knee and ankle position. Unlike a true lunge, your base in a split squat doesn’t move, keeping the tension on your glutes and quads and preventing you from using momentum. Here, you’re loading just one side to challenge your core and hip stability. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height with your chest lifted and elbow down, and stand with your feet in a split stance, left leg forward, right leg back and up on your toes. Keep your torso erect as you bend both knees and drop straight down toward the floor until both legs form 90-degree angles at the hips and knees. Extend your legs to return to the start. Complete all reps on one side before switching.
Since this move is unilaterally loaded, the dumbbell will want to pull your torso over to the weighted side. Focus on keeping your rib cage level with the floor and squeezing your shoulder blades down to maintain balance and stay square, with your center of gravity over your hips.
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July - August 2019