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Living well: Balance Lunges

Freshwoman Melissa Carlson executes the balance lunge perfectly! Her form and posture are great; two extremely crucial aspects to fostering proper exercise techniques. (All photos by Chantelle Panackia)

It is never easy talking about our insecurities when our insecurities involve our bodies. I still have trouble admitting which parts of myself need more work and which parts of myself need to be maintained and that’s what keeps any progress from occurring. I have gained a little more security in myself so that I can now openly admit which areas of my body are my least favorite and are my go-to targets whenever I hit the gym.

I have been dancing for the majority of my life and my training has caused the muscles in my legs to be bigger and stronger than most people’s. It took me a very long time, however, to attribute this strength as a good thing. I’ve always had qualms with my hips, thighs and butt; they were always “too this” or “too that.” It also took me a long time to try and figure out why I was so displeased with these parts o my body and who I was trying to impress. Once I realized there really is no one I need to impress, other than myself, then I was able to start using this strength to my advantage and work towards getting stronger.

– This exercise is great for targeting your thighs and butt.

Carlson is keeping in mind a very important exercise tip when performing any kind of lunge, by not letting her knee pass her foot.

– Begin with your hands on your hips. Stand about two to three feet in front of a bench or chair. Place your right foot on the bench or chair.

–  Start to slowly lower your body in a straight line, making your left knee bend at a 90 degree angle.

Push back up, then begin the process again. Do 10-12 reps on each leg, then switch legs. As you push back up to start, keep your weight on the heel that’s planted on the ground to target your gluteal muscles. And keep in mind that your focus should be the journeys you make as you go up and down; it’s not about speed, but form!

Modifying this workout: Instead of keeping your hands at your hips, hold weights in each hand and let them hang by your side. This will create resistance and help tone your shoulders and arms while you do your balance lunges.

Melissa performing the modified version of the move.

Important tip! When you perform your lunges, make sure your knee doesn’t pass the front of your toe. This will cause several complications in your leg, as well as causing you to pull your muscles.

These exercises are  easy to do once you’ve gotten the hang of them. It’s always a good (and fun) idea to go to the gym with a friend, or even invest in a trainer (if you have the funds and the time for that kind of luxury). Having this kind of support and friendly competition will motivate you to push yourself and the limits you’ve set for your own body.