Tainer Kira Stokes wants to change your definition of “the gym.”
“The gym exists far beyond four walls,” the New York–based fitness instructor and creator of the Kira Stokes Fit app, tells SELF. “The biggest gym and the best gym is often just the great outdoors.”
Stokes, whose clients include Ashley Graham, Shay Mitchell, and Candace Cameron Bure, demonstrated that philosophy earlier this week when she shared an Instagram video of her demoing a multipart lower-body move on a beachside bench in Santa Monica, California.
You can check out the video, via @kirastokesfit, here:
“I’m always about looking at your environment and finding a way to utilize whatever it is you come into contact with in a way that fatigues certain muscle groups in a seamless manner,” says Stokes. And this move—a combination of a step-up, reverse lunge, and jump lunge performed with just your bodyweight and an elevated platform—does exactly that.
“It’s such a good move,” says Stokes. And though it combines multiple exercises, she adds that it’s not overwhelmingly complex once you learn each part.
Why this move is great for your lower half
The move requires balance, stability, and control. “It’s the ultimate compound move for your lower body,” she explains, as it combines strength (from the step-up and reverse lunge) and power (from the jump lunge). With this move, you essentially work your entire lower body, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. You’ll also likely get your heart rate up, which makes it a good cardio exercise too.
The jump lunge portion specifically adds plyometric work and the cardio. Plyometric moves—exercises that involve explosive movement, like hops and jumps—are great for developing power, elevating your heart rate, and incorporating high-intensity work into your training, says Stokes. The jump lunge, in particular, is “pretty freaking difficult,” says Stokes. Doing a set of back-to-back jump lunges without a break would be very tough. The fact that this move incorporates a step-up and reverse lunge in-between each jump lunge means you get a small reprieve in intensity between the jump lunges, Stokes explains. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy—again, it’s three separate lower-body moves combined into one, and you’ll probably get fatigued pretty quickly as you give it a go.
How to do the move
As mentioned, you’ll need a bench or step to perform this move. The ideal height of your elevated platform depends on your own height, says Stokes. A good rule of thumb is to find a platform high enough that when you place one foot on top of it, the hip and the knee of that leg are at the same height, or the knee is perhaps slightly higher. Use a shorter step and you won’t get as much glute work; use a step that’s too high and you won’t be able to step up and down with control.