By including Lunges regularly in your workouts, you will begin to tighten, tone, and strengthen the leg muscles, as well as burn fat.
One of the beauties and great benefits of the Lunge is that it is an exercise that can be done by anyone, anywhere, and regardless of fitness level, experience, or age.
What are Lunges?
Lunges are a compound exercise, which means that they target multiple joints and muscle groups in one complete movement. They require balance, coordination, and good posture to execute, and when repeated with proper form, Lunges are a reliable way to build lower-body strength.
What muscles do Lunges target?
In short, Lunges mainly target and work a number of muscles including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
The Lunge is an extremely popular and well-used exercise, and as a result, there are many variations and progressions which you may use to vary up your training and increase the difficulty level of your workout.
How do I properly perform Lunges?
To do a Lunge, start by standing upright and placing your hands on your hips.
Make sure that your shoulders are always above your hips and step forward with one foot to a distance where you can keep both your forefoot and heel in contact with the ground throughout the movement.
At the same time, lower your back knee towards the ground, so that it sits below your hips while making sure the forward knee does not cave inward.
Then push through the heel of your forward leg to straighten up and follow these steps for the other leg, alternating them to build strength evenly in your lower body.
Count one rep when you return to a standing position.
Remember that you can always check the tutorial videos in the Freeletics app to see Lunges demonstrated at full speed, half-speed, and from multiple angles.
Additional things to keep in mind when training
As with any exercise, the Lunge will only strengthen your muscles when performed correctly. To make sure you are mastering this move and getting the most from it make sure you do the following:
- Engage your core – Bracing your core and engaging your abs will ensure that your pelvis stays stable, keeping the focus of the exercise on the quads and glutes.
- Tense your glutes – Make sure to clench your glutes and quads once your forward foot hits the ground for each rep. These are the two main muscles employed in a Lunge, so tensing them is vital to executing the movement correctly as well as to help keep the forward knee from caving inward.
- Keep your chin and chest up – Keeping your chest and chin up will correct your posture, make the movement easier and more seamless, and most importantly keep your spine in its natural alignment to prevent injury.
Some Lunge variations to try from the Freeletics app
Each Lunge variation works or focuses on slightly different muscle groups, with the most popular adaptations including Reverse Lunges, which follow the same movement as a forward lunge, but in reverse (as the name suggests!).
The benefit of doing a Reverse Lunge over a standard Lunge is that in the second half of the movement it provides a closer approximation of the movements you’ll undertake during a number of different sports, so it helps to build functional power.
It is also easier to maintain your balance throughout the movement, as you will keep the majority of your weight on your forward leg.
Lunge Walks are a step up from the Lunge. With the added challenge of
staying balanced as you move, this exercise will help to improve your core stability as well as strengthen your leg muscles.
Another common variation is the Side Lunge, which works your inner and outer thighs. This type of lunge is perfect for those who play sports like football and rugby, due to their ability to strengthen the muscles involved with side-to-side and change-of-direction movements.
The Lunge is a great exercise to do regularly, no matter what your health and fitness goals are. If you’re new to fitness or an exercise pro, the Lunge is a functional exercise that will help you out in your day-to-day life, from strengthening your stride to improving your posture and helping to build up your speed and power.
Exercise overview by David Weiner, Training and Nutrition Specialist