Get a leg up with this lower body workout that promises a fat-burning burst of cardio along with three fresh variations on lateral jumps

By Ashley Mateo

There are so many reasons to love lateral jumps: they improve your strength, better your agility, and up your coordination-plus, they even tone your sides for an all-around lean body. Awesome! You don't even need any equipment, so you can do them absolutely anywhere-no excuses. (That's why they're part of our Old School Circuit Training workout.) And you'll love them even more with these three challenging variations.

The basic version is super easy. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and sit back into a shallow squat position. Dip your knees, then explosively hop off both feet and move to your right. Land softly, then immediately hop back to the other side. Continue jumping back and forth for 30 seconds. Take a 15-second rest, then complete two more rounds. We guarantee you'll feel the burn in your legs, and your heart rate will bump right up.

Want even more of a cardio burn? Add in quick feet-after you jump to the right and land softly, run in place, taking three quick steps. Then jump back to the other side and repeat.

Now it's time to get serious and throw in a balance challenge. For the last variation, you'll start standing on one leg, and hop from side to side, switching legs as if you were hopping over a puddle or speed skating. Swing your arms side to side too, and lower your torso down to reach the opposite arm toward the opposite standing leg. Remember to stay light on your toes and land softly!

Need a visual to get the gist? Check out Seattle-based trainer Jennifer Forrester as she demos all the variations above. Then hop to it!

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