Lunges - A Daily Exercise

31
July
2021

Lunges are a great functional way to increase muscle mass to build up strength and tone your butt, legs and core, whilst improving your balance and stability. 

BENEFITS 

  • Weight loss - 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 unilateral exercise, meaning you work on each side of your body independently. The single-leg movements activate your stabilising muscles to develop balance, coordination and stability. During the lunge, your spine and core are forced to work harder to stay balanced.
  • Alignment - Performed correctly, lunges can correct imbalances and misalignments in your body to make it more symmetrical. If you have a dominant side that overcompensates, you can spend a bit of time performing reps on the “weak side” to build strength.
  • Stand taller - Lunges 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, making common movements easier.

PERFORM A SIMPLE LUNGE

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hands interlocked in front
  • Step forward with your right leg until your left knee is almost touching the ground
  • Ensure that your right knee doesn’t extend past your foot, if so, on the next step lunge a little further with the foot
  • Push off your right foot to return to the starting position
  • Alternate legs, and repeat for 10 reps each side

PROGRESS IT!

If you feel yourself starting to plateau, up the intensity by;

  • Adding resistance - grab a kettlebell, plate or dumbbell. Hold the weight up to your chest, or if you have two weights prop them on your shoulders or have them hang in a neutral position by your side
  • Adding a tempo - to really work the legs even harder, slow down the reps. Your sets will take longer, but the time under tension will work those muscles just that little bit harder
  • Elevate - switch your “forward lunge” to a reverse lunge. Stand firmly on a step, then send your leg back into a deep lunge position. As the front foot is elevated, you are deepening your range of motion. You will feel the hip flexors getting a good stretch as well as your firing up your quads and glutes.

VARIATIONS

Stationary lunge

Stationary lunges target your glutes, quads and hamstrings. You’ll put most of your weight on your front leg and use your back leg to balance, stabilise, and support your entire body. Keep your hips squared and core braced.

Side lunge

Lateral lunges work your inner and outer thighs and develop balance, stability, and strength. Start by standing tall with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Your back should be straight and your weight on your heels. Take a big step to the side whilst keeping your torso tall, lower until the knee of your leading leg is bent at around 90°, keeping your trailing leg straight. Push back up and return to the starting position. Focus on bending and lowering from the hips, with your back straight and core engaged to avoid collapsing over the front knee.

Walking lunge

Walking lunges require focus on balance and coordination. This 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. Each step, bring the back knee to hover close to the ground, and be sure to keep a straight back and tight core when pushing off the ground.

Reverse lunge

Reverse lunges 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. You can hold weights in a neutral position by your side, or up on the shoulders with elbows forward. To progress further, you can stand on a step or a plate as to increase the range of motion to improve flexibility.

Curtsy lunge

This variation can sculpt and strengthen your hip adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings as well as improve hip stabilisation. Can be performed bodyweight or with a kettlebell or dumbbell up by the chest. During the motion, brace your core muscles and slightly lean forward. Make sure your upper body, back, and chest, stay straight throughout the movement.

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