Walk the walk: Walking lunges

Dying to define and downsize your thighs? Well, you'll have to walk the walk -- walking lunges, that is. Although it's the ultimate leg workout, it won't strip the fat from your legs alone. You'll need diet and cardio, too.

The lunge requires balance, flexibility and leg strength. The biomechanics of the exercise are fairly functional in that it is similar to the way we walk and run. The unilateral movement emphasizes quadriceps and gluteal strength on the front leg and dynamic flexibility on the rear leg. This means you'll develop lean, luscious legs and a tight, rounded rump.

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To begin: Balance a body bar across your shoulders. While standing tall with your shoulders back and down and abs tight, place your feet together.

Step 1: Step forward with your right foot. Bend both knees so that your front knee is aligned over your ankle or slightly forward, and the back knee approaches the floor with your heel lifted.

Step 2: Push up by forcing the weight of your body through your right heel and bring your left leg in to meet back with your right foot. Without pausing, lunge forward with your left foot.

Keep going: Alternate sides to continue walking forward for 20 steps to start.

Tip: If you're a beginner, begin with your body weight only and work up to weighted bars. Start with a 15-minute session of walking lunges with 30 second rests at the end of each set. Eventually, work up to 45 minutes of walking lunges with a shorter rest time for a really tough workout.

A little warning: Walking lunges will make you sore. If your legs start to feel heavy toward the end of your workout, don't fret. (You'll definitely be sore tomorrow.) If, however, you start to feel sore or are unable to move through the full range of motion due to fatigue (like you're really on your last leg), stop.


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