Summer is the perfect season to get serious about strong legs. The magic of strong legs lies in their function, including strength and balance. Leg muscles are involved in nearly every daily activity and exercise, and strengthening them helps you maintain balance and even correct knee pain. Lunges are one of Cleveland Clinic fitness specialist Ryan Sidak’s favorite leg exercises. “They target the quadriceps and the glutes (otherwise known as your gluteus maximus, or buttocks), and they elicit a metabolic response that’s very effective for burning fat,” he says. Work one or both of these variations into your fitness routine two to three times a week. Front lunge
Begin by standing upright in a balanced position. Lift your right foot off the ground and use it to take a big step forward. Then lower the knee of the left leg almost to the ground. Maintain an upright posture with your upper body as you press through your right heel and return to the starting position. Perform 6 to 10 lunges on each side, leading with the right and then repeating with the left. If you feel wobbly, either widen your stance to increase stability or rest a hand gently on the back of a chair or small table. Side lunge
The side lunge is a good option if you get knee pain or wear high heels a lot. Start out by standing tall and upright. Lift your right foot and step it out to the side. Keep your toes pointing forward; do not turn your foot sideways. Then press up through the right heel and return to the starting position. Perform 6 to 10 lunges on the right side and then repeat on your left side.