You've spent the past few months working out, training hard and becoming familiar with essential exercises to build muscle and keep your body fit. Once you've mastered the basics, you can move onto advanced exercises for more complexity. Combine two exercises like lunges and lateral raises, for instance, to increase the challenge to your body and keep you on the right track to continued improvements in your muscle tone and overall fitness.
The Basic Move
Before trying out a lateral raise from a lunge position, you should already have conquered the two exercises separately. It will take more focus and effort to stick to proper form while doing both moves as one exercise, so if you're still a little unsure with one or the other, work on the exercises separately before melding them together. To perform a lateral raise from a lunge position, start out standing upright with your arms at your sides, abs held taut. Lunge your right foot forward as you bend your left knee, bringing it down to almost touch the ground. Your right knee will be bent, too, and should not extend over your toes. Focus on keeping your back straight and head up, looking straight ahead. As your knees bend, bring your arms up so that they are extended to the sides just above shoulder height. Bring yourself back to the starting position and repeat the move, lunging your left foot forward and bending your right knee this time. Do 10 repetitions with each leg for a total of 20 lateral raise lunges.
Lateral raises from a lunge position can be done without resistance, but there is no denying that adding resistance to the exercise will help build muscle and increase that challenge factor you're always looking for. Dumbbells or hand weights are the obvious forms of resistance to use when doing lateral raises. Resistance bands are effective, too. They'll be gentler on your shoulder joints and are easy to take along with you when you travel.
So now you want to know why you should combine exercises like lunges and lateral raises. For one thing, doing the two exercises together enhances the complexity of both movements, one that's an effective lower body exercise and the other that strengthens your shoulder muscles. Lunging lateral raises work a lot of your body at once turning an isolation exercise (lateral raises) into a multi-joint exercises that will maximize your workout efforts, especially if your fitness goals include weight loss. And by getting both exercises out of the way in one shot, you'll cut a chunk off the time you spend in the gym.
When you get the lateral raise from a lunge position down pat, you haven't reached the end of the tunnel yet. There are variations on the exercise you can do to shake things up yet again to keep yourself and your muscles interested. Instead of alternating lunging legs, try doing 10 reps on one side before moving to the other side. Or keep the alternating in the exercise but perform it walking, moving forward as you lunge instead of coming back to the same spot between lunges. You can add lunging lateral raises to your yoga workout by starting out with a crescent lunge then laterally raising your arms, with or without hand weights, all the way up past shoulder height until they are extended over your head. Or lunge to the side instead of forward, raising the arm that is on the same side you are lunging on, then return to the starting position and lunge and raise on the other side.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.