This week we've got a fun compound exercise with a unique twist, literally! I'm highlighting a move that I've put together based on some exercises I did during my vacation and while perhaps it does have it's own official name somewhere it the fitness world, I'm calling it 'Bear Stance to Lunge & Twist'. Keep reading to find out how in the world you even do this move, why you should do it and of course, there's a challenge!!

How do you even 'Bear to Lunge & Twist'?

Let me start off by saying it's way simpler to execute than it sounds, but just because it's simple to execute does not mean that it is easy!

You'll begin the move on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. With your hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees about hip width part, raise your knees to a hover just a couple of inches above the ground. Now you're in 'bear' stance. From 'bear', you'll bring your right leg forward into a runner's lunge then open up with a gentle twist toward your right knee releasing your right arm up towards the sky. Return to 'bear' and repeat on the left side bringing your left leg into runner's lunge then twisting toward the left knee before extending your left up up towards the sky.

You'll continue cycling through this exercise for a desired amount of reps or time. At anytime, you can modify the movement by dropping your back knee while in runner's lunge. I like to include this move as part of a warm-up or with my clients core exercises but you can really incorporate it into any portion of your workout routine.

Why do it?

First off, 'bear' in and of itself is an awesome low-impact exercise that primarily targets and strengthens the quadricep muscles. However, because of the way you hold the stance, you also work the core and hit muscles in the back of the legs plus the shoulders. It's really a full-body move without you even realizing it.

Secondly, runner's lunge is one of my favorite moves to open and stretch the hips and hip flexor muscles. I love this stretch because it allows you to gently release tension in the lower body through a fluid stretching movement. Adding the twist to runner's lunge let's you release even further into the pose, stretches the entire spine and increases overall mobility throughout the body.

This variation on plain old 'bear' and runner's lunge is a nice twist ( literally) because it adds compound movement providing strength and stretch all in one functional move. In this exercise, you'll be strengthening the legs, stretching and releasing the spine and lower body, opening up the chest, and working the core as you cycle through this exercise alternating sides with each repetition.  

You guessed it, there's a challenge!!

Now that you know how to 'bear to lunge & twist', let's challenge ourselves, shall we? Your goal is to work through 15 reps (L-R1) of this move to start. Once you're comfortable with the movement do 15 reps followed by a 30-60 second plank, repeat that combination three times. Incorporate this into your strength training sessions this week and let me know what you think!

I do hope you enjoy this unique move! If you have ideas or suggestions for future #MoveItMonday exercises, please share! I'm always open to new ideas from my readers!