Your deep lunge needs some work, says Self. Adding this modification will tone your butt even more.
If you're reading this blog while sitting at the desk you've been planted in all day, every day, you probably have tight hips. Like, ridiculously tight. Why do you care?
"Tight hip flexors inhibit the abs, glutes and inner thighs, where almost everyone wants to tone and strengthen," says David Reavy, a Chicago-based physical therapist who just launched a new group PT-class called RMx. "If your hip flexors are tight, the work you're doing for these muscles may not get you results. How many times have you heard people say that they've been working on their inner thighs or their abs, but nothing is changing?" Even worse, if your hips are chronically tight, you can develop low back pain, IT band syndrome and patellar tendonitis, Reavy adds.
There's something super simple you can do to chill out those hips, though: A deep lunge stretch.
"The deep lunge is an activation technique. It allows you to use the whole body better, which will make your workouts more efficient. And the more muscles you can recruit during exercise, the more calories you will burn," Reavy says. (Ahem. If you're keeping score, that's a better ass, abs, and legs, not to mention you'll melt more fat and stave off injuries, too.)
We know what you're probably thinking. "I already do deep lunge stretches, Self." Well, probably not like this. The secret is reaching your arms out while you lunge. "The reach helps get your upper hamstrings and glutes working, balancing out the body," Reavy explains.
Try it: Lunge forward on left leg, keeping the knee at 90 degrees, elbows bent and hands up at shoulders, palms out. Keep your weight on your left heel with your left hip slightly higher than the left knee. Reach hands out and forward; hold for three counts, then return to start, and repeat on opposite side for one rep.
Do 1 set of 15 reps if it's a workout day, and if you're not heading to the gym, go for 3 sets of 15.
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