Just like you shouldn’t eat the same foods at every meal, you shouldn’t do the same old lunges every time you work out. Sure, they’re convenient and easy, but so is fast food—and you know that doesn’t do your body any favors. So the next time you hit the gym, try these five lunge variations from the Women’s Health Big Book of Abs for toned, look-at-me legs.
For more body-toning moves, get the Women’s Health Big Book of Abs today!
- Main Move: Bodyweight Lunge
- Lunge with Biceps Curl
- Goblet Reverse Lunge
- Reverse Lunge and Rotate
- Dumbbell Lateral Lunge
- Cross-Behind Lunges
- 12 Steps to Kick Ass Hamstrings
- Forward Lunges: How to Use Proper Form & Technique Tips
- Dumbbell Forward Lunge Instructions
- 3 Common Mistakes
- How to Do Lunges Correctly
- I’m stronger than I thought.
- My knees didn’t hate me.
- I learned to focus on the details.
- You really can workout at work.
- Lunging is a good energy-booster.
- People don’t take the stairs.
- Lunges work!
Main Move: Bodyweight Lunge
Before you try these lunge variations, make sure you have the proper form for a basic lunge.
Place your hands on your hips, and stand tall with your shoulders pushed back (a). Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees (b). Pause, then push yourself to the starting position.
Lunge with Biceps Curl
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart (a). Step forward with your right leg and lower your body. As you lunge, curl both dumbbells up to your shoulders (b). Lower the dumbbells and then return to the starting position (c). Step forward with your left leg and repeat (d).
Goblet Reverse Lunge
Hold a dumbbell vertically against your chest, with both hands cupping it (a). Step backward with your right leg and lower your body into a lunge (b). Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Reverse Lunge and Rotate
Grab a dumbbell and hold it by the ends, just below your chin. Stand with your feet less than shoulder-width apart (a). Step backward with your right leg and lower your body into a lunge. As you lunge, rotate your upper body toward the right (b). Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Dumbbell Lateral Lunge
Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides (a). Lift your left foot and take a big step to your left as you push your hips backward and lower your body by dropping your hips and bending your left knee (b). Pause, then quickly push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides (a). Step forward and to the side so that your lead foot ends up in front of your back foot (like a curtsy). Lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees (b). Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg (c).
Kenny Thapoung Social Media Editor When I’m not stalking future-but-never-going-to-happen husbands on Facebook, you can catch me eating at one of NYC’s B-rated or below dining establishments—A-rated restaurants are for basics.
12 Steps to Kick Ass Hamstrings
I make it a point to avoid commercial gyms as much as possible. For my sanity’s sake.
That said, on those extremely rare occasions when I find myself in one of those black holes of fitness and conditioning, I’m always blown away by the amount of shoddy leg training I see.
Leg curls, leg extensions, leg presses, and maybe the occasional squat, usually performed nowhere near parallel, dominate the scene. This may be okay if you aspire to look like the fellow douchebag checking his spray tan beside you, but if you hope to develop a little power to go with that cool blowout haircut, you need to hammer the hamstrings and glutes!
Strong hamstrings, glutes, and lower back are key to both being fast and lifting heavy weights in the deadlift and the squat, and guess what? A few sets of ten on the leg curl machine won’t cut it! The hamstrings and glutes must be worked with both intelligent programming and animalistic ferocity.
Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind when setting up an intelligent posterior chain program:
- The hamstring group is made up of the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and semimembranosus muscles. All must be worked hard for maximum strength and speed.
- The hamstrings have two functions: bending the knee and the hip extension. Both motions must be trained.
- The hams are made up of a high percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers and therefore must be trained with heavy loads. Think lower reps – even as low as singles!
- Because of the high amount of fast twitch fibers, the hamstrings respond well to eccentric work.
- If they’ve been neglected, the hamstrings will have to be worked more often until they catch up to the powerful quads.
12 Step Program
Each of the 12 exercises described below will hit the hams and glutes hard in a big way. Choose one to three of them and add them after your main leg exercise of the day (i.e. deadlifts or squats).
Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs)
RDLs are similar to straight-leg deadlifts (SLDL), except that instead of simply bending at the waist and pulling up on the bar, you have the hips travel backwards when bending over. That’s an important point that bears repeating: For many, the SLDL neglects the hamstrings while overworking the lower back. This is especially true for short-leg, long-torso lifters.
The RDL will probably do more for your hamstrings and glutes than any other exercise, except for traditional deadlifts. It really is an incredibly underrated movement, both for athletic performance and for developing an ass that doesn’t disappear when you turn sideways.
Be sure to keep a flat back; you can use both clean and snatch grips for variation. This is a movement where you definitely want to keep the reps low.
Four sets of 6 is a good starting set-rep scheme.
You’ll need a glute-ham bench for this exercise. The movement looks somewhat like a back hyperextension, except that your legs are bent at the knee and you pull yourself up using your hamstrings, glutes, and calves by pressing your feet into the toe board and flexing the hamstrings hard.
The glute-ham raise can be done after every session if using only bodyweight, but as you get stronger you can play with adding additional weight for multiple sets of low reps.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts
While I firmly believe that all variations of deadlifting should be performed, I do prefer the SGDLs for several reasons. The primary reason is that they force you into a lower position, thus forcing the hamstrings and glutes to work even harder than the traditional deadlift. In addition, there’s the benefit of the work the entire back gets!
I would use straps on a SGDL because of the wide grip; but don’t go crazy wide. I know you’ve probably seen Olympic lifters use the collar-to-collar grip, but that’s simply not necessary.
This exercise really teaches you to sit back when pulling from the ground; an invaluable lesson for anyone wanting to improve his or her deadlift.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts from a 4-inch Box
Let’s take a brutally effective exercise and make it even harder by performing it on a 4″ box (or block of wood). This movement will absolutely destroy the hamstrings and glutes, with an added bonus of hitting the upper back and traps.
That’s one thing you’re sure to notice with RDLs and SGDLs: The upper back and traps are usually quite sore the day after. Anytime you have to hold a heavy bar and then do multiple reps in a pulling movement, the traps and upper back have to work hard to stabilize the load.
The 4″ box will create a greater range of motion, but isn’t so high as to alter body mechanics significantly. If you find your form breaking down too much at 4″, try using a shorter box or simply an aerobics step.
Focus on sitting back and letting the hams and glutes do all the work. If there’s one mistake I see repeatedly on this movement, it’s that when the weights start getting heavy, lifters start using their arms – this is a recipe for disaster. If you find that you’re arm pulling, lower the weight a bit and build back up.
This exercise can be used as either a max effort (very heavy) movement or as an accessory lift for reps.
I picked this little gem up from Pavel Tsatsouline. Please ignore the circus trainer quality of this exercise – it kicks ass! It can be performed with two dumbbells or kettlebells.
Place the dumbbells on the other side of the foot of the leg you’re working. With a slight bend in the knee, bend forward at the waist and grasp the dumbbells. The non-working leg should be well behind you and off the ground.
Go as high as you feel comfortable. Now, with straight arms, pull the dumbbells up to waist height while dragging the back foot forward until you are standing erect on two feet, with the DBs at waist height.
Band Leg Curls
For those familiar with the Westside system of Maximum Effort/ Dynamic Effort, this is a great movement to train the hams in a dynamic way. The bands will train the hams to stay strong through the entire range of motion since the exercise will get harder as you get closer to the finish.
Choke a band around the uprights of the rack, sit on a bench, and place the band around the back of your ankles. The band should have some tension while your legs are extended. Now contract the hamstrings hard and do a fast, explosive leg curl.
Band leg curls can also be done one leg at a time, as shown in the video on the right.
Three sets of 8 is sufficient.
Lunges have gotten a bad rap because most dimwits in the gym use a 3-inch stride and pink dumbbells. However, when done with moderately heavy weights and in a dynamic (explosive) fashion, the lunge can be a tremendous tool in your strength training toolbox.
The lunge should be a fairly long stride, and instead of simply stepping forward and then back, once your foot hits the ground on the forward stride, explode back up to the starting position.
Lunges performed in this manner are effective because the athlete actually opens and closes the kinetic chain while performing the movement, which also helps the athlete become strong in supporting a high percentage of his bodyweight on one leg (similar to running).
So they’re functional and help build an ass of granite — Nothing wrong with that!
Don’t be afraid to go heavy on the lunge. No one said you must do them for sets of fifteen!
Three to four sets of 8 to 10 will hit the hamstrings and glutes thoroughly.
Dynamic Effort Medicine Ball Leg Curl
This exercise works great as a finisher and helps develop lower body explosiveness. Plus its kind of fun, especially if you’re the type who gets bored of the same old, same old.
Begin by lying face down on the ground with your legs together. Have a partner roll the medicine ball down the back of your legs. When you feel the ball get to your ankles or the backs of your shoes, explode the ball back up to your partner with a leg curl-type motion.
It may take a few reps to get it perfect, but when you do, the ball will fly up, toward your head, and your partner should catch the ball at about waist height. This is a great movement to train the hamstrings in an explosive, curling manner.
If you’re prone to strained or pulled hamstrings, give these a shot. You can up the reps on this exercise; sets of 8 to 10 would be advisable.
Please make sure to get a partner who can catch the ball!
Towel Leg Curl
You can probably tell by now that I’m not a huge fan of regular leg curls. The machines are just so limited in their movement patterns and resistance.
However, you may also have noticed that I included three leg curl variations in this article. Why? Well, as I said in the beginning, both hip extension and knee flexion must be worked; it’s just that the machine leg curl is for lazy-asses.
Both the band leg curl and the medicine ball leg curl are great for training the hams in a dynamic fashion, but the resistance is limited. Enter the towel leg curl.
Lie face down on a bench with your legs hanging off the edge. Have a partner wrap a towel around the backs of your ankles, and do a leg curl.
This method is superior to run of the mill leg curls for several reasons:
- Variable resistance. You can have your partner increase or decrease the load as needed
- Increased resistance during the eccentric phase. Simply have your partner pull harder during the lowering portion of the lift and you fight against the resistance.
- Variable paths. You can go wide or narrow, or one leg or two during the exercise. Switching up the path of the movement will do wonders for complete development.
The towel leg curl can be done for medium (4 to 8) reps. 3 to 4 sets can be done toward the end of the session.
Swings are one of the best, yet most misused exercises to train the posterior chain. The swing is performed by most as a squatting-type movement. This style was popularized by those using it as a fat loss tool, which, when done for high reps, is quite effective.
However, considering we’re after hamstring growth here, that’s not the style we’ll be using. The true kettlebell swing, one that’s done for speed, strength, and muscle development, is a much longer range of motion with a definitive “snap” at the bottom of the movement.
When the kettlebell is all the way back, snap it forward. It’s that reversal of momentum that’s of the utmost importance! If you’re doing a slow swing, you’re doing a worthless swing. Make sure you pop the hips on the way up to involve the glutes as well.
Don’t be afraid to go heavy on these. They now make kettlebells up to 106 lbs, so that should keep even the strongest among us working hard. A dumbbell can be used if no kettlebells are available.
I’ve found this movement to be great with athletes when performed as a warm-up to a Max Effort (heavy) leg exercise. It’s great for waking up the hams and glutes and letting them know there’s work to be done!
Swings can also be used after a heavy movement, on speed day, or at the end of a session as a finisher. You should shoot for 3 to 4 sets of 4 to 6 reps.
Upright Sled Walks
Pulling sleds and pushing prowlers is a great way to condition, but as anyone who has watched Testosterone’s Christian Thibaudeau thrash Darryl Gee and company can see, it can also be used as an alternative way to develop the legs.
When most pull or push a sled, they do so at an angle. In order to target the hamstrings, you must pull from a very upright position.
This is best achieved by wearing a harness, but can also be done by attaching the strap to a lifting belt. When you begin pulling, keep your body as upright as possible and rather than just walk, use your feet to “pull” the ground toward you.
To see this in action, next time you walk your dog, get behind him and notice how dogs step and pull the ground towards them. You’ll know if you’re doing this correctly because when you do, you’ll feel an intense tightening in your hams.
Sled walks can be done in place of any of the other hamstring/glute exercises listed above. Start with 3 trips of 30-yards, and try to work up to 6. At that point, add weight.
If there’s one thing that makes the cardio crowd gasp in horror more than hearing that cardio is a waste of time, it’s when they hear that instead of jogging on some Godforsaken treadmill, they should go out and sprint !
Sprints are the long lost training tool that can improve your conditioning, torch bodyfat, and develop a killer set of hamstrings. Even if you’re not an athlete, sprinting is still a great idea.
The very act of sprinting places a tremendous stress on the hams, glutes, and hips. Just take a look at the legs of any sprinter or NFL cornerback, and you’ll get a good idea of what sprinting can do for your legs.
Remember, for the purposes of hamstring development, we’ll keep our sprints short; we’re not after conditioning here — that’s another article. If you haven’t sprinted in a while, start slow; you may not feel much while you’re out there running, but sprinting can cause big time soreness.
Treat sprints like the upright sled walks: They can be done as an alternative to any of the other hamstring exercises or they can be given their own day.
I’ve found that most athletes like to knock the sprints out right after their dynamic (speed) lower day. Some like to do them at the end of a heavy leg session. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Start with 4 to 5 sprints of 30 yards. Build up to 8. Then, you can start playing with distances; try 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even some backpedal sprints.
The End Game
Okay fellas, this is your final warning. If I see any of you at 24 Hour Fatness and you’re still sporting the posterior chain development of a tube of toothpaste, I’m going to staple this article to your droopy ass!
Building a kick-ass backside doesn’t have to be complicated; just pick two or three of these movements, put them in your program, and watch your hamstrings grow.
Forward Lunges: How to Use Proper Form & Technique Tips
Dumbbell forward lunges are an excellent way to not only engage your entire lower body, including your hip flexors, but also to help improve your balance and stabilization. This move also includes plyometric power, when you push yourself back to standing position from the lunge position.
This lunge variation challenges your leg strength, balance, and power, so grab your dumbbells and follow these instructions.
Dumbbell Forward Lunge Instructions
Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides. Pack your shoulders down and engage your abs.
Step your right leg forward, and then bend both knees to lunge down. Your back knee should hover just above the ground, with your front leg bent to a 90° angle.
Once in the down lunge position, powerfully drive off your right foot to push your body back up to standing.
Repeat on the left leg. Alternate legs for the desired number of repetitions.
In the forward lunge, you want to keep your spine tall and your body stable throughout the movement. To help stabilize your body, make sure that you strongly grip your dumbbells. This helps engage your core. As you lunge down, step forward far enough that your front knee doesn’t drive too far over your front toes, and plant your whole foot down. You want to breathe in through your nose as you lunge down, and exhale as you drive back up to standing.
3 Common Mistakes
While a side plank looks pretty straightforward, there are still some common mistakes you want to avoid.
1. Front Heel Comes Off The Ground
When you step forward into the lunge, it’s important to plant your entire foot down (including your heel).
When your front heel comes off the ground, you’re much less stable. You also aren’t able to generate as much power to push yourself back up to the standing position. Think about putting your weight in your front heel, and keeping your toes down for balance.
2. Front Knee Caves In
In the down lunge position, your knee should be directly over your ankle and in-line with your hip. Your leg should form a solid 90° angle.
If your knee caves in, there are generally two things going on: (1) the arch of your front foot has collapsed, and (2) you’re not engaging your gluteus medius, which works to stabilize your knees. This puts you at risk of a knee injury.
To fix this, I recommend watching your form in a mirror. Perform the movement slowly and with control. When you notice your knee collapse in, press your knee outward to engage your glute and lift the arch of your foot. When your knee is directly over your ankle, hold the position for 1-2 seconds, and then push off your foot to stand back up again.
Alternatively, focus on doing static lunges for awhile. Really focus on building strength and stability in your legs before progressing to this more plyometric variation.
3. Rounding Your Shoulders & Back
Standing tall as you do forward lunges serves multiple purposes. It helps you maintain total body tension, core stability, and balance.
If you round your shoulders and back as you lunge, you turn off all of those actions. You lose total body tension, your core is less active, and your balance will be more challenged. At the same time, you put pressure on your back and neck, which could start to cause back pain over time.
Instead of leaning over your front leg, focus on keeping your body tall throughout the lunge. Squeeze your lats to pack your shoulders, and tighten your core to stabilize your spine.
Now that you know what to do, and what not to do, add this lunge exercise to your next workout. We’d love to hear what you think!
How to Do Lunges Correctly
Lunges are a staple exercise. If you’ve never loved them much, now’s the time to switch camps. Lunges train your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core—and best of all, they hit them all at once to burn major calories, says Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., author of Lift to Get Lean and founder of Women’s Strength Nation. Bonus: You can do them anywhere. If you’re planning on incorporating lunges into your routine, however, make sure you’re not doing more harm than good.
Doing lunges with poor form or bad alignment can irritate your joints—especially your knees, according to Sabrina Strickland, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, in 7 Workouts Secretly Causing Knee Pain. A good rule of thumb: If you feel pain in your knees, check the form pointers below to make sure you’re doing them right. You can also try taking smaller steps or not lowering as far down. Once you’ve mastered how to do a forward lunge correctly, you can move on to reverse, side, and walking lunges to hit all the different muscles in your legs.
Ready to learn how to do lunges correctly? Check out this easy-to-follow guide and watch the video above—with moves demo-ed by Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland—to get your best legs ever.
1. Forward Lunges
Benefits: While forward lunges hit your glutes and hamstrings, this variation—often just called the plain ol’ lunge—also zeros in on your quads for awesome thigh strength and definition, says Perkins. (Here’s a total guide to how to do forward lunges.)
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, overhead, or grab some weights, and take a slow, controlled step forward with your right leg. Keeping your spine tall and the weight in your heels, lower your body until both your front and back legs form 90-degree angles, and your knees are directly over your ankles. Pause, then bring your right leg backward to return to starting position. Make sure not to wobble! Step forward with your left leg and repeat.
2. Reverse Lunges
Benefits: A great cross-training move, throwing your lunges in reverse takes the focus off of your quads and trains your hamstrings and glutes in ways other exercises don’t, says Perkins. Some women also find that they’re easier on the knees. (Here are mistakes you’re probably making in reverse lunges.)
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, overhead, or grab some weights, and take a slow, controlled step backward with your right leg. Keeping your spine tall and the weight in your heels, lower your body until both your front and back legs form 90-degree angles, and your knees are directly over your ankles. Pause, then bring your right leg forward to return to starting position. Again, no wobbling. Step forward with your left leg and repeat.
3. Side Lunges
Benefits: If you’re like most women, your workouts rarely take you from side to side, says Perkins. This move does just that to strengthen the glute medius, which is critical to hip stability and fending off running injuries. (See: Why You Should Add Lateral Exercises to Your Workouts)
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet together. Place your hands on your hips, overhead, or grab some weights, and take a big slow and controlled step to the right with your right leg, making sure to land flat on your foot. Keeping your chest up and the weight in your heels, push your hips back, bend your right knee, and lower your body until your right leg is just above parallel to the floor, and your right knee is directly over your ankle. Your left leg should stay straight throughout the entire movement. Pause, then bring your right leg back to starting position. Step sideways with your left leg and repeat. (Here are more tips on how to do a side lunge correctly.)
4. Walking Lunges
Benefits: The most functional of lunge variations, this one works your muscles similarly to how you walk and run, says Perkins. It is difficult, though, so you may want to work up to it starting with forward lunges.
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, overhead, or grab some weights, and take a slow, controlled step forward with your right leg. Keeping your spine tall and the weight in your heels, lower your body until both your front and back legs form 90-degree angles, and your knees are directly over your ankles. Pause, then take a big step forward with your left leg. Continue alternating to move forward across the floor.
5. Isometric Lunges
Benefits: Holding a lunge is no easy task, but it’s one best left to rehab situations, says Perkins. For instance, if you’re recovering from a knee injury. Also, if you notice any weak spots during your forward, backward, or walking lunges, getting into an isometric lunge and holding your most troublesome position can help you strengthen your legs when they’re bent at that exact angle, she says. (Here’s more on why isometric exercises deserve a place in your routine.)
Instructions: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, overhead, or grab some weights, and take a slow, controlled step forward with your right leg. Keeping your spine tall and the weight in your heels, lower your body until you reach your desired depth and hold as long as you can without wobbling or breaking form. Bring your right leg back to starting position. Step forward with your left leg and repeat.
A general word on weights: Perform these lunges for four weeks using only your bodyweight before adding dumbbells or kettlebells into the mix, Perkins recommends. Start by adding 10 pounds, and then increase the weight as you feel comfortable. (And get excited: You’ll be scoring all these health and fitness benefits of lifting weights.)
I’d like to say that I’m very active, but the reality is that I don’t always move as much as I should. Sure, I squeeze in the occasional spin or hot yoga class, but five days a week I’m pretty sedentary, no matter how much my fitness tracker yells at me to get going. The problem—maybe you can relate—is my job: I sit at a desk at least eight hours a day, then another hour each way during my commute. By the time I get home, all I want to do is sit down to dinner then watch whatever version of the Real Housewives is on. (Don’t judge.)
In an attempt to add more movement to my day, I recently started walking up the 88 very steep stairs to my fifth-floor office. While wheezing on one of the landings, I realized there was enough space there to sneak in some strength-training moves. Lunges seemed like a smart choice.
Here’s how to do the perfect lunge:
(Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time to lose the weight for good with Prevention’s new 10-minute workouts and 10-minute meals. Get Fit in 10: Slim and Strong for Life now!)
Lunges don’t require any equipment, and they’re a great way to work your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. They also help with balance and core strength. That’s pretty efficient for one basic move!
My plan was simple: I’d do as many lunges as I could every day. Here’s how it played out.
I’m stronger than I thought.
The first day I was able to do 70 basic lunges before my quads started shaking. I was pretty impressed with myself and figured I could do more, so I revised my goal to do 100 lunges a session. The new plan was to do four sets of 25, taking breaks between each set. I’d add lunge variations (forward, back, side, and pass-through) when I got bored.
MORE: 5 Easy Moves To Tone Your Legs Fast
My knees didn’t hate me.
I have a partial tear in my left knee due to a home renovation mishap, so I’m tentative about bending exercises. But after doing some research, I found that lunges are easily modifiable—you just need to stop bending before it hurts and engage your core to help support your leg muscles. (Here’s how you can do lunges and squats without killing your knees.) I found that I was able to bend 90 degrees without pain as long as I moved slowly and paid attention to form: I was careful to keep my front knee tracking over my ankle, my back knee bent but not touching the ground, my chest and chin up, and my core engaged.
I learned to focus on the details.
I worried that a single-move workout was going to be boring, but there are so many important, yet subtle, elements of the lunge that make it effective. I took my time so I could maintain proper form for every last lunge. I made sure there was no tension in my jaw, my eyes were level, my chest upright and centered. At the end of each session my legs were shaking, and I felt like I’d gotten a good workout.
PREVENTION PREMIUM: This Move That Targets Your Outer Thighs AND Lower Belly, Plus 5 More Fitness Updates You Need To Know
You really can workout at work.
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images
When I started this challenge, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to sneak away from my desk, that my work clothes wouldn’t be conducive to lunging, or that I’d be too tired or sweaty to get back to work. (One of our editors tried taking a plank break at work every day—here’s what happened.) None of those turned out to be true. It only took me 15 minutes to do all 100 lunges, and I never got sweaty—maybe a little out of breath. I was able to lunge in most of my typical work outfits, though I was most comfortable when I was wearing a loose dress or stretchy jeans. All I had to do was change into a pair of sneakers that I kept under my desk and I was good to go. (Thinking about working out at work? Try one of these stylish summer tops that hide sweat stains.)
Lunging is a good energy-booster.
Jetta Productions/Getty Images
Whenever possible, I stopped for my lunge break before noon; lunging with a full stomach didn’t seem ideal. That being said, lunges also saved me a few times when I found myself dragging around 3 PM. Instead of forming a search party to find snacks or loading up on caffeine, I’d do some lunges and feel much more alert. (You can also try this new way to get your caffeine fix, from Prevention Premium.)
MORE: 35 Teeny Tiny Tips To Boost Your Energy And Reduce Fatigue
People don’t take the stairs.
I spent 15 minutes every day in that stairwell for an entire month, yet I only ran into coworkers twice. I guess people don’t take the stairs much. Just saying. (Take advantage of an open staircase with these awesome toning moves using stairs.)
As the month went on, I was able to hold poses longer and I could handle more resistance on climbs in spin class. I saw definition in my quads. And, as a nice perk, my cellulite smoothed out. I also felt stronger, and climbing those 88 stairs became more tolerable. The benefits were so dramatic that I now feel less guilty about binging on Bravo shows. (If you’ve been working hard, relieve your tight leg muscles with these foam rolling moves.)
Liesa Goins Liesa Goins is a senior editor at Women’s Health magazine.