Ah the lunge. Probably one of the most popular lower body exercises in every gym goer’s exercise arsenal. I thought that for Blogmas day 18, I would present you guys with a guide to lunging. Here are a few of the benefits of a great exercise that can help you reach your goals.
A multi joint exercise that hits every muscle in the lower body and core together. There a few exercises out here that when done wrong can be very dangerous. But the lunge is easy to learn and easy to execute safely.
Some of the benefits include:
- Increased Functionality
- Improved Balance
- Better Core stability
- Increased gluteal activation
- Increased flexibility
A lunge is a compound exercise that works the quads, hamstrings and glutes together. This forces you to be co-ordinated, while doing something that people essentially, do everyday…walking. There are also so many ways to progress and regress this exercise making it suitable for all levels.
Lunges are a unilateral exercise, meaning that you work each side independently to the other. Working them independently helps with your overall balance and stabilisation, more than other traditional bilateral (double sided) exercises like squats or deadlifts.
Better Core Stability
By keeping your torso upright without extending too much at the spine, you can get a great activation at the core. Pelvic stability and control are also needed throughout the movement to perform a lunge properly.
Increased gluteal activation
An increasing number of people find it very difficult to use the glutes to their full potential. This is generally due to tight and over active hip flexors and quads (the muscles that make up the tops of the legs). Proper form can lead to better glute activation and isolation.
Performing a proper lunge forces a hip flexor stretch. As I mentioned before, generally a lot of people have tight hips and quads, mainly due to sedentary lifestyles. Lunging is not the answer to these being over active and tight but it will definitely help.
1. Start standing with feet together
2. Take a step forward, leading with the heel
3. Sink down until knees are at a 90-degree angle and back leg is parallel to the floor (If you are unable to do this then sink a low as you can comfortably).
4. Step all the way back to the start position and repeat.
Regression: Static lunge
- Rather then step back from the bottom position of the lunge. Continue to raise and sink for desired amount of reps, keeping the feet in the same position
- By adding weight to the lunge you increase difficulty and load. Start light and gradually increase as your confidence grows.
Lunges are multi-functional. You can target different muscles by changing the width and direction. A shorter lunge will target the quads, with a longer lunge targeting the glutes. You can also challenge the glutes further by stepping backwards rather than forwards. Hit the smaller glute medius and minimus by stepping to the side into a lateral lunge. Keep your inside straight and the travelling outside bent for a great way to hit the inner and outer thighs as well.
I hope this has been useful! Until next time,