Keeping the sides of our bodies strong and conditioned is important to help keep all our muscles firing the right way. This allows our bodies to stabilize appropriately on our legs. If you consider that all we do is generally always moving forwards (running/cycling/walking/etc), the sides of our bodies usually get under worked and overlooked, leading to weakness, poor activation and then subsequent issues. Not to mention, working the sides of our body (including the core) can help reduce those pesky love handles. Give the following routine a try after a good 30 minute cardio routine.
Sidesteps with Double Band
This is a good staple in any lower body strength training work out. Place a really stiff band above the knee and a more moderate band around the ankles. Assume a squat position – this is important! If you step sideways with a straight leg, you will ultimately lose most of the glut activation.
Take 3-5 steps to the right, then 3-5 steps to the left. Repeat this sequence 3x.
Banded Side Plank with Leg Lift
Place a easy to moderate band above your knees. Come into a side plank position, ensuring your elbow is directly inline with your shoulder. Make sure your hips are inline with your shoulders and do not let them “dip.” Lift the top leg away from the bottom leg. Note that this is a difficult exercise. If it is too difficult to lift the top leg away from the bottom leg with the knees straight, allow the bottom leg to rest on a bent knee. This is working BOTH side bodies, your core and your booty!
Lift top leg up and down with control x10. Repeat on other side. Perform 2x on both sides
Modified Side Plank with Clamshell
Another great plank + booty burn combo! Come into a modified side plank (knees bent and weight through outside of bottom lower thigh). With the easy to moderate band still placed above the knees, rotate the top knee away from the bottom knee. The feet should stay together.
Perform 10 repetitions on one side, repeat on opposite side. Perform 2x on each side
Sidelying Hip Abduction
Lay on one side with hips stacked and knees straight. Keeping the top toes pointing forwards, lift leg away from the bottom leg. Ensure ankle stays in line with hip or travels up and slightly back.
Perform x20 reps on one side. Repeat 2x on each side.
Oblique Straight Leg Reach
The internal and external obliques sling around our torso and really help stabilize our side bodies. Lay on your back with both your legs in the air and knees straight. Reach up and over to one side, making small pulses in your torso to perform small oblique contractions.
Perform on one side x20 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
Come into a high plank on your hands. Ensure your hands are directly under your shoulders. Keeping the core tight, bring one knee to your arm pit. Return that leg to the ground and repeat with the opposite side. Ensure to keep your movements slow and controlled.
Alternate legs until each leg has completed x8-10 reps.
Side Plank Hold
Final side body burn with a static side plank hold. I like to hold onto a weighted object for just a little more effort, but you can definitely perform this without anything in your top hand. Remember to keep the support elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift the hips to be in line with the shoulders and do not let the hips sag.
Hold x20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. Perform x2 side planks on each side.
Repeat this entire sequence one more time!