Double Duty: This Trainer's Favorite Lunge Variation Will Also Work Your Abs

Getting the most bang for your buck out of a quick workout is NASM-certified personal trainer Alexia Clark's specialty. She posts gym and home routines on her Instagram page for her near two million followers — and more on her website, where you can also purchase her programs — full of creative exercises that will keep your sweat sessions effective and, most importantly, not boring! Alexia told POPSUGAR that, in terms of moves that work your legs and your abs, she knows just the thing.

She calls this lunge with benefits a lunge core twist, where you're holding a split squat — or lunge — position with your back knee hovering above the ground and you're twisting back and forth, similar to the torso movement in a Russian twist, keeping your core tight. It combines an isometric movement that "works your glutes because you have to hold a stabilized position" with the added bonus of targeting your abs.

Alexia also pointed out that this move forces you to work your balance, too. I tried this last night, and trust me when I say that my balance was challenged (and I'm a former gymnast). For the lunge core twist, you can use a weight, but Alexia said she wouldn't suggest anything heavy — the focus is your legs and abs here, so you don't want to tire out your arms and risk breaking your form.

Five to 10 pounds would be ideal, whether that's a dumbbell, medicine ball, or kettlebell, though she said the move is very effective using no weight. This is an exercise you can do at many different levels — even at a beginner level with modification. Check out further instructions for these lunge core twists ahead as well as a variation you can try if you don't want to hold your lunge.

Lunge Core Twist
Alexia Clark

Lunge Core Twist

Try this move with or without weights.

  • Hold a lunge position with your left leg forward and right knee hovering over the ground. If you're using weight for this, hold a five- to 10-pound weight with both hands close to your chest.
  • Keep your core engaged, and twist back and forth to the left and right.
  • Make sure you're twisting with control, bringing your torso back to center in between twists.
  • Alexia says to do this for 30 seconds or for 10 to 12 reps — a twist to the right and left equals one rep — on each leg. Complete three to four rounds.
Variation: Reverse Lunge With Twist
POPSUGAR Photography | Rima Brindamour

Variation: Reverse Lunge With Twist

If you don't want to hold the lunge, you can modify it by doing reverse lunges with a single twist (instead of both sides). See directions below for how to perform this move with a medicine ball, but you can do it without weight as well.

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Hold a five- to 10-pound medicine ball with your arms outstretched in front of you (or close to your chest, like Alexia suggests).
  • Keep your core stable, and take a large step back with your right foot, planting your foot and then lowering your body until both legs are bent in right angles.
  • As you sink into the lunge, twist your torso to the left.
  • Bring your torso back to center, and exhale as you straighten your legs. Bring your feet back together, then step back on your left leg, twisting to the right.
  • This completes one rep.