The lunge is one of the more well-known leg exercises for toning the quads. So it’s not surprising that many people would look to a variation of the lunge -- the side lunge -- to tone the hip area. It’s a reasonable thought. But whether the side lunge is effective at burning the fat or toning the muscle in the hip area depends on more than just the exercise itself.
Side lunges can help you slim down, but probably not in the way you might think. Side lunges won’t burn fat, but they do build muscle. So why is that helpful for slimming down? The more muscle that you have, the higher your metabolism, and the more calories you’ll burn. Metabolism is the energy required to keep the body running, even when you’re sleeping or just watching T.V. So, a higher metabolism means that it’ll be easier to lose weight and slim down.
Build Lean Muscle
But just because side lunges build muscle mass around the hip area, you're not going to instantly start burning the fat on your hips. It only means that you’ll be building the muscles on the sides of the legs -- the abductors. The body tends to gradually shed pounds all over, not in localized places. So even if you're doing side lunges, you still have to burn the fat from the hip area to really see results. Depending on your metabolism to burn the fat, it could take a while to see a slimmer hip area -- even if your metabolism has increased.
Tone the Hips
Doing side lunges, however, obviously tones the muscles on the sides of the legs. This, of course, is slimming. Not only does it add to the total body lean muscle count -- which boosts the metabolism -- but it sculpts the muscles. This actually does make the body leaner. For best results, however, combine a cardio workout with a routine that includes side lunges. A mixed cardio-side lunge program will build muscle to increase the body’s metabolism, sculpt the muscles and burn fat.
The mixture of cardio and side lunges is actually a good recipe for slimmer hips. As your cardio program gradually melts the fat from the hips, the side lunges tone the hip muscles; eventually a toned hip area will be revealed. In other words, cardio and side lunges are a packaged deal for slimming down the hips. Yes, theoretically side lunges could slim down the hips all on their own, but it would be a long process. You'd have to wait for your metabolism to burn the fat. For faster results, add cardio exercises to your program.
Based in Atlanta, Mya Passmore has been writing since 2010, covering health and business topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from George Washington University.