So last week we took a break from a typical Move It Monday post for the announcement of Best Body Bootcamp Round 3 Registration opening (be sure to register!). This week I don’t plan to share a fully laid out workout with you, either. Hold on, hold on.
Awhile ago, I did a post featuring 22 variations of the Plank Exercise. You all seemed to like that one a lot, so I thought we should bring out another feature on a particular exercise for you to include in your workouts. This time, we’re talking LUNGES!
I love lunges. They work your legs SO well and in so many different ways. Plus, you can never get sick of them because of the HUGE array of options to add to your workout. When done with proper form, they will effectively work your entire lower body, as well as your core as you stabilize yourself, and they will feel pretty good too.
5 Benefits of Lunges
- Work the entire leg. – Lunges use everything from your glutes and hamstrings in the front leg to your hip flexors and quads in the back leg and all the way down to your calves!
- Challenge your core. – To stabilize your body during the lunge your transverse abdominus (those deep, pull-em-in-tight muscles) remains activated.
- Help strengthen instability in your lower body. – Your hips, lower calf, and ankles have to work hard to stabilize you, which helps strengthen key areas that often are weak without our even knowing it.
- Recognize strength imbalances. – You can more readily spot weaknesses or a lowered range of motion in a particular leg during lunges than in a movement like squats and help to correct those imbalances.
- Never-ending options. – From full body compound movements to power options to traditional and basic strength moves, you will have an endless variety to keep your body guessing and you motivated.
I give 12 different lunges I enjoy doing in my workouts in the video. Before we get to those, let’s go over some form tips. Always important to train with proper form!
- Keep your shoulders back and down with your head and neck aligned with your spine.
- Tighten your core and pull your hips in so you aren’t arching your back. You should be standing with good posture, loose up top and controlled through the core and hips.
- When lowering into the lunge, keep the movement as vertical as possible. You shouldn’t be bending forward, rocking through the knees, or collapsing at the hips.
- Aim for a 90 degree bend in each bent leg, but do not push past the point of comfort in your range of motion.
- Do not over-extend your knees beyond your toes.
- Push through the heel of your front feet when rising out of the lunge.
- Start with bodyweight only and gradually increase the weight to an amount you can still control with proper form.
- Stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Time for the video – 12 of my favorite lunges! (please excuse the messed up sound…I don’t know why it starts so delayed and I didn’t have a chance to fix it)
reading at work (shhh! I won’t tell!) who can’t watch the video, I have a little summary of the exercises for you below. See how much I think of you? Or I just want you to have no excuse to skip the lunges.
The Different Lunge Variations
- Stationary Lunge
- Crossover Lunge
- Backward Walking Lunge
- Side Lunge
- Walking Lunge
- Pendulum Lunge
- Reverse Lunge to Kick
- Pop Jump Lunges
- Jumping Switch Lunges
- Side to Side Punching Lunges
- Touchdown Lunges
- Walking Lunge with Leg Lift
Even More Ways To Mix It Up
- Mix up the weight you use – bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, etc.
- Make a movement a compound movement by incorporating an upper body exercise – like a stationary lunge with a bicep curl or a crossover lunge with a lateral raise.
What are you waiting for? Break out some lunges!
Your Turn – Do you like lunges? What’s your favorite type of lunge?