Summer has officially arrived in these parts. With parkas, mitts and winter boots little more than a slushy memory, this season’s warmer temperatures mean more of us are getting outdoors and getting active.
Cardio options are the natural default but if you are looking to tone up your lower half and excel at some outdoor summer activities, not to mention look even better in this seasons summer wear, here are some variations of the squat and lunge you can incorporate in to your routine. A one time dreaded part of any workout, with these tweaks, dull and boring doesn’t enter the picture. Better option? Take these variations outdoors.
The Plie Squat:
Stand on a bench (a park bench will do), wide stance and with a dumbbell (we suggest a 10 pound option) held with both hands. Lower yourself down as far as you can so you are in ˜plie’ form, while ensuring you have a straight back, with dumbbell being lowered between your legs. Raise yourself up slowly. Target area: Inner thighs
The Sumo Squat:
Start with feet together. Take a large step to the side and with widest stance you can handle, squat so your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your hands on your hips. Raise yourself up slowly without locking knees and repeat by taking wide step with opposite leg. Target area: Glutes
Holding up the Wall:
With your exercise ball against the wall on one end and resting against your lower back on the other, lower yourself down while keeping the ball stable and rolling up along the mid point of your back. Stop when your knees hit a 90 degree angle and the ball is between shoulder blades. Hold. To make this a two for one deal, add eight pound weight to each hand and do bicep curls with each squat. Target area: thighs, glutes and biceps with added weights.
The Side Sweep:
Place your left foot on a paper plate or glide disk. Begin with feet hip-width apart. Bend your right knee, sitting far back in your heel, cautious not to let your knee roll up over your toes. Your left leg should slide to the side. Push down into plate to contract inner thigh, and slide leg back toward you. Repeat for as many reps as you can and switch up legs. Target area: inner thighs, glutes and hips
The Jump Lunge:
This lunge is best done without added weights until you’ve got your from down pat. Start off in traditional lunge position. Lower down so right knee is at 90 degree angle. Once you feel like you are ready, jump up and switch leg positions mid way in air, landing in opposite leg lunge position. Lower into traditional lunge and repeat for as many reps as you can handle. Target areas: glutes, thighs, calves, core.
Remember, form is key to all of these variations. Throw a smattering of these options into your next workout and you’ll notice some happy changes to your lower half while adding a bit of edge to your existing athletic abilities.