If saddlebag thighs and a flabby bottom are stressing you out each time you look in the mirror, incorporate side squats into your exercise routine. In addition to toning and strengthening your lower body, squat exercises are known to increase muscle tissue so you burn more calories. They also engage your core and improve your stability, mobility, balance and athletic performance. By holding dumbbells in your hands during the exercise, you add an extra challenge and also give your upper body a workout. Learn proper form so you get optimal results and before you know it, your frown will turn upside down.
Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands with an overhand grip -- your palms face down while your little, ring, index and middle fingers go over the dumbbells and your thumbs wrap around the dumbbell to meet them. If you're new to this exercise, do it without dumbbells so you can develop correct form. Once mastered, use lightweight dumbbells and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
Spread your feet about 3 inches apart, slightly bend your knees and point your toes forward.
Extend your arms at your sides and rotate your hands so your palms face your body.
Face forward and pull in your stomach so your abdominals tighten and help support your back. This is your starting position.
Step your left foot out to the side so you take on a shoulder-width stance. Keep your toes and knees pointed forward.
Bend your knees, push your buttocks back and lower your hips down as if to sit on a chair. Try to bring your thighs as close to parallel to the floor as you can while keeping the dumbbells at your sides, your knees above your toes and your back straight.
Push through your heels, straighten your knees and squeeze your buttocks as you return to an upright position.
Push off on your left foot and return to the starting position. Do the exercise 12 times with your left leg or alternate your legs. Complete three sets.
- Do side squats in a mirror so you can monitor your form.
- For an arm-strengthening bonus, tuck your elbows into your sides and curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders each time you squat down.
- Consult your doctor before engaging in a new exercise routine, especially if you have an injury or medical condition.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.