The Lunge

The Lunge

The  lunge is an exercise that requires no equipment and can be done just about anywhere you please.  When executing the lunge, your front leg is bent at the knee with the foot flat on the floor, and the back leg is bent behind. Lunges are used by athletes, weight lifters, and even as part of yoga practices. You will find that lunges are an excellent exercise to perform in order to define and shape the legs and glutes, while also improving balance, coordination, and stability as they will also strengthen your back along with your hips, and legs.The physical benefits of doing lunges may extend into other areas of your life as they give you more strength and confidence.

Benefits of Lunges

Weight loss

Lunges work the large muscle groups in your lower body, which builds leans muscle and reduces body fat. This can increase your resting metabolism, which allows you to burn more calories and trim excess weight.

Balance and stability

Lunges are a lower body unilateral exercise since you work on each side of your body independently. The single-leg movements activate your stabilizing muscles to develop balance, coordination, and stability. Working one leg at a time causes your body to be less stable, which forces your spine and core to work harder to stay balanced.

Alignment and symmetry

Lunges are better than bilateral exercises for rehabilitation since they can correct imbalances and misalignments in your body to make it more symmetrical. If you have one side that’s less strong or flexible, spend a bit of extra time working on this side so you don’t overcompensate or overuse the dominant side.

Stand taller

If we are being honest, a fit and trim body that stands with good posture is far more attractive than the alternative. Lunges will strengthen your back and core muscles without putting too much stress or strain on your spine. A strong, stable core reduces your chance of injury and improves your posture,  which make common, every day movements far easier.

Muscles Used

Lunges increase muscle mass to build up strength and tone your body, especially your core, butt, and legs. Improving your appearance isn’t the main benefit of shaping up your body, as you’ll also improve your body’s range of motion.

Lunges target the following muscles:

  • abdominals
  • back muscles
  • gluteal muscles
  • quadriceps
  • hamstrings
  • calves

There are more than one type of Lunge you can do in your exercise routine which bring you great benefit.

 Front Lunges

Stationary lunges target your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. You’ll put most of your weight on your front leg and use your back leg to balance, stabilize, and support your entire body.

You’ll want to get the form down since stationary lunges are the foundation for all the lunge variations.

Side Lunges

Lateral Lunges develop balance, stability, and strength. They work your inner and outer thighs and may even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Side Lunges train your body to move side to side, which is a nice change from your body’s normal forward or twisting movements. Plus, side lunges target your quadriceps, hips, and legs at a slightly different angle, thus working them a little differently.

Walking Lunges

To do walking Lunges, you’ll need balance and coordination. The walking variation targets your core, hips, and glutes, and improves overall stability. They also increase your range of motion and help to improve your functional everyday movements.

Reverse Lunges

Reverse Lunges activate your core, glutes, and hamstrings. They put less stress on your joints and give you a bit more stability in your front leg. This is ideal for people who have knee concerns, difficulty balancing, or less hip mobility.

Reverse lunges allow you to be more balanced as you move backward, changing up the direction from most of your movements and training your muscles to work differently.

The two “basic” Lunges are the front and reverse. The big difference between the two is with a front lunge you step one foot forward as you lower your body while with a reverse lunge, you step a foot behind your body when you lunge.

Lunges are simple, making them accessible to people who want to add them to part of a longer routine or do them for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. You must stay on track and be consistent to maintain your results over time.

For each lunge variation, do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. If you feel yourself starting to plateau, up the intensity by doing more difficult variations, adding weights, or increasing the amount you do. However, be sure to get your form down correctly before you move on to more challenging variations.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Ms.T.J says:

    Lunges hurt my knees though…

    1. David Yochim says:

      Hi Ms. TJ

      I hate hearing that lunges hurt your knees as they are a pretty good exercise. Sometimes the pain comes from poor form, such as letting the knee extend too far forward, or it is possible you have a muscle imbalance that has caused the pain. It is also possible that your knees just cannot take the extra pressure for one reason or another. Having never seen you perform this exercise, I do not want to make any assumptions though. Thanks for reading and commenting my friend, we enjoy your dialogue with us.

      1. Ms.T.J says:

        I think you are right with the muscle imbalance. Had issues before with my thigh muscles not allowing my knees to track properly.

    2. Brenda Sue says:

      Hi Ms.T.J.!

      My experience with lunges from years ago is that if I allowed my knee to extend beyond my ankle, it would hurt my knees. If I kept a straight line from my knee to ankle when fully extended, I was okay. I also learned that rear lunges did not hurt my knees.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Brenda Sue

      1. Ms.T.J says:

        Hey that’s a good tip. Yes rear lunges seem to put less pressure on the knees.

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