Good Form: Enhanced bent-over row

Getting a leg up is a good strategy.

Here's a challenging variation of the traditional bent-over row that will strengthen your core and your upper body muscles. Remember to hold lighter dumbbells while you master the technique, then increase the weight once you're comfortable finding your balance. Practice patience because this exercise is harder than it looks.

Stand upright grasping a 3-, 5- or 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, with your arms hanging below your shoulders. Slowly begin to tilt your torso forward, bending at the hips. Bend your right knee slightly and shift your body weight off your left leg. Find your balance with just your left toes touching the floor behind you. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders, chest and hips facing squarely toward the floor.

When you feel ready, begin to raise your left leg off the floor until it reaches hip level. At the same time, bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells to your hips. Pause. Continue to hold your leg up as you lower and raise your dumbbells eight to 12 times. Return to an upright position and repeat, this time balancing over your left leg while lifting your right leg.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."

karen@karenvoight.com
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