Sidestep to stronger legs

In day-to-day life, body movement is usually restricted to a back-to-front direction—it’s how we walk, after all. Many go-to leg exercises mimic this trajectory, which makes sense. But a routine made up exclusively of squats, deadlifts and forward lunges isn’t the most well-rounded way to train the lower body. Approach workouts from another angle by adding lateral lunges. This move works the inner thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus—essential for maintaining balance—and it also tones muscles.

THE SETUP
Begin with feet parallel and hip-width apart. It’s important to keep the toes aligned in the same side-to-side plane throughout the exercise. Stand with shoulders back and down, chest proud. Maintain this shoulder-blade position through the exercise.

THE LUNGE
Step one foot out to the side, toe pointed forward, bending that knee and sitting back into the lunge, as if doing a squat. Take care to prevent the bent knee from projecting past the toe beneath it, which could cause straining. Place hands on thighs for balance, then press into the foot of the bent leg to return to standing. Aim for 10 reps to one side, then 10 to the other, repeated for 3 sets.

EXTRA CREDIT
It becomes more of a total body move by adding a medicine ball- weighted front raise. Start holding the ball in both hands down in front of the pelvis. While stepping sideways into the lunge, raise the arms straight up to the front, stopping when hands are in line with shoulders.

photos: kenny janosick
fitness model ryan fatscher photographed at on the go fitness, st. james