The Lunge is a terrific training exercise for the entire leg region, it is often overlooked when crafting the typical leg training routine.
How to perform lunges
1. Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. This will be your starting position.
2. Step forward with your right leg around 2 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down. Note: As in the other exercises, do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
3. Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
4. Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.
Muscles Targeted: The lunge targets the glutes, quadriceps and calves. Lunge is a superb exercise for stimulating a solid slab of muscle growth throughout your lower limbs. Enhancing the body’s ability to jump, run and lift, the muscle gains are functional as well as aesthetic. In addition to stimulating muscle growth, the lunge develops balance and agility.
Points to Note
This is a movement that requires a great deal of balance so if you suffer from balance problems you may wish to either avoid it or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object. Definitely never perform with a barbell on your back if you suffer from balance issues.
Bend as far and low as possible without losing form.
• Don’t lean forward. Stretch your hip flexors.
• Don’t let your knees buckle in. Do glute activation.
• Don’t land on the toes. Keep your toes up.
• Don’t let your knee come in front of your toe. Keep shin close to vertical.
• Don’t look down. Look forward.
• Don’t let the knee of your back leg hit the floor. This will hurt.
There are several ways to perform the exercise.
One way is to alternate each leg. For instance do one repetition with the right, then the left, then the right and so on.
The other way is to do what I call a static lunge where your starting position is with one of your feet already forward. In this case, you just go up and down from that starting position until you are done with the recommended amount of repetitions. Then you switch legs and do the same.
A more challenging version is the walking lunges where you walk across the room but in a lunging fashion. For walking lunges the leg being left back has to be brought forward after the lunging action has happened in order to continue moving ahead. This version is reserved for the most advanced athletes.
Lunges can be performed with dumbbells as described above or with a barbell on the back, though the barbell variety is better suited for the advanced athletes who have mastered the exercise and no longer have balance issues.