In this article I am going to discuss how step-ups, lunges and side lunges will not only help you get smaller and more defined, but will give you needed strength and stability in your hip joint…which is more important than you may know.

Shaping the lower body – like J-Lo’s

Let’s face it…ever since J-Lo and Beyonce hit the scene it has been all about the booty!

When it comes to wearing bathing suits and form fitting clothing there is nothing like feeling as though you look your best. Going out and socializing becomes a lot more fun while clothes shopping takes on a more satisfying feel to it.

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Tone your thighs, hips and butt with these 3 simple fat burning exercises

3 Exercises for toning your hips, thighs and butt

These three exercises are beneficial for shaping the lower body because they work all of the major muscle groups from the hips down.

Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs and even your calves will morph into a shape you have always dreamed of and for this reason alone I’m betting you would give these moves a fair shot.

Providing strength and flexibility to your hip joints is an added benefit to these exercises.

The possibility of the knees, back and shoulder joints overcompensating and becoming injured due to lack of proper range of motion from tight hip flexors (thanks to sitting for long periods of time daily) is often dealt with yet not understood.

As always, if you are new to strength training or a specific exercise in general, I highly recommend you to begin with no external resistance (no weights) to learn proper form and then progress to a more challenging version only when you have mastered the movement itself.

Step-Ups

Step-ups are great because they not only provide amazing cardiovascular benefits and burn plenty of calories, but since steps are a part of life and we never know when the elevator may be out of order…why not be prepared?

Begin light by using a single step in your home or somewhere steps are present and get used to the repetition.

Once you are comfortable, feel free to increase the intensity by either adding height or light weights. Check out this video by Livestrong.com for a visual demonstration of how to do this exercise properly.

Lunges

Although lunges aren’t easy, they do offer wonderful benefits. While this exercise strengthens the glutes, quads and surrounding muscles, once done properly lunges have the ability to help you control gravity’s impact on downward movement.

I recommend beginning with a stationary lunge with the option of holding onto something to help you with balance as you build up the strength required to support your body weight.

For a visual set of instructions, watch this.

Side/Lateral Lunges

While regular lunges are effective for shaping and strengthening the entire lower body, side lunges offer the same benefits yet feature the inner and outer thighs more prominently.

As you step out laterally to do the lunge, you are working the outer hip using hip abduction and bringing it back to starting position using your inner thigh, otherwise known as hip adduction. Your standing leg is working to stabilize the movement, so it is also reaping the rewards of this exercise.

Adding side lunges to your routine enables you to get benefits from using multiple planes of movement. In life we move in a variety of different directions, so it only makes sense to incorporate multi-directional forms of fitness into your routine.

See the demonstration here and give it a try!

As always, start slow, master your form and add resistance as needed for proper progression. If you are consistent, you will shape your body into something you have only dreamed about!

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