Move of the Week: Strength and Balance

September 25, 2013 2:03 pm Last Updated: December 13, 2013 3:30 pm

Try these lunges and squats to strengthen your lower body and improve your balance and coordination.

Single-Leg Lunge and Rotation

Set yourself up in a lunge position, right leg in front, left leg behind. Lower your left knee toward the floor. Make sure both of your legs create a 90-degree angle when in the lunge position.

Perform 10 lunges, and on the last one, hold the lunge position. Extend both arms in front of you and bring the hands together.

Rotate your upper body across your lower body and across the front leg. This will challenge your balance and engage your core, particularly your obliques.

Repeat 10 slow rotations. Then hold the lunge position and do 20 small pulses.

Step the back foot in and change sides. Repeat the sequence again with your left leg in front and your right leg behind.

Pick-Up Lunge

Step your right foot forward into a lunge position. As you do this movement, bend down like you are picking up something from the floor. This will deepen the lunge and work the muscles of your thighs, hips, and buttocks more than a basic lunge will.

Complete 16 pick-up lunges on each leg. Then alternate one lunge on each leg for another 16 counts.

Airplane Squat

Balance on your right foot as you lift your left foot up and reach your left leg behind you. Extend your arms out to the side like the wings of a plane. This will help with your balance.

Bend your right knee into a shallow squat position. Repeat 12 times. Then change legs.

As your balance improves, you can lower into a deeper single-leg squat position.

Repeat each exercise with the left leg standing and the right leg behind you.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.