Strengthen your back

By: Maureen Hagan

Author: Canadian Living


Strengthen your back

By: Maureen Hagan
This story was originally titled "Extended Lateral Lunge" in the October 2007 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

Extended lateral lunge
Why it is great

This pose, derived from yoga, is called Extended Warrior II or side lunge. When you add a resistance band or tubing (preferably with handles) and a lateral (side) torso action to this traditional lunge, you’ll strengthen your core as well as your legs and hips. Working your core means flatter abs, a stronger back, improved torso flexibility and powerful posture.

Starting position
• Hold a resistance band behind your back, just under your shoulder blades, and stand with your feet wide apart. Turn your right foot out to the side and bend your knee, aligning your knee over the centre of your foot. Straighten your left leg and turn your left foot inward at a 45-degree angle.

• Reach your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground, palms facing forward. You should feel some resistance from the band to start. Keep your hips and shoulders square (A).

• Keep your heels pressed into the floor and legs straight and strong while you lean your torso over your right thigh (B).

• Lower your right side down toward your thigh until your right hand approaches the inside of your knee. Breathe in as you lean and lower (C).

• Maintain a straight spine as you hold this side lunge; exhale.

• Take a deep breath, holding the pose for five to 10 seconds. As you exhale, return to the starting position, maintaining strength in your legs and resistance on the band.

• Relax, then repeat two to three times on each side; you may alternate sides, or perform all repetitions on one side at a time.

What not to do

• Do not push your hips out behind you.
• Do not lean forward or back.
• Do not release the tension on the band.

Muscles worked
• Trapezius
• Rear shoulders
• Erector spinae
• Quadratus lumborum
• Gluteals
• Quadriceps
• Transverse abdominus
• Rectus abdominus
• Obliques

Maureen's tip

To blast belly fat faster and burn more calories, include both strength-training and aerobic exercise in your workout.

Read about the 5 fitness pros who can help you reach your weight-loss goals.

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Strengthen your back