Ever wondered what might be the most effective and practical type of exercise you can do to work on your core and lower body like a pro? Lunges are among the simplest and best exercises recommended for this purpose by myself and other professional trainers, and for good reason.
Not only are they able to strengthen your leg, buttock and core muscles, but they are also designed to improve your overall muscle mass and boost your metabolism. They are among the best exercises for both fat burning and toning.
Helps to Strengthen Your Buttocks and Legs
Lunges are right up there with squats and other exercises designed to promote increased lower body activity. Glutes activation is one of the main results when performing lunges in their proper form. Because overactive hip flexors and spinal erectors are deactivated during the exercise, a simple lunge will allow you to fully utilize your gluteal muscles.
These exercises are also excellent for developing your thighs and hips. Specific types of lunges, such as the walking lunge, works pretty much the same muscles as a typical stationary lunge, but focuses more powerfully on your legs, and can help prevent plateauing in your leg routines.
When compared to other exercises for developing lower body muscles, such as squats, it is important to keep in mind that lunges offer a far greater range of movement. So despite the fact that they are designed to target pretty much the same muscle groups, they also assist in a more substantial development of both glutes and hamstrings.
Due to the fact that they target several large muscle groups at once – they will force the body to use up increased energy, accelerate your metabolism and increase fitness levels. This means you can start burning fat much more intensely, while toning up most of the major muscle groups in your legs and buttocks.
Improves Core Stability
Normally, weight lifting exercises are known for being able to improve your strength stability quite well – and this also goes for body weight workouts, including the ones that require you to perform lunges.
Core stability is the ability to control your pelvic and back muscles with ease, particularly during movement. However, compared to most core enhancing weight lifting exercises, lunges are far superior.
Lunges force you to work hard in order to keep your torso upright, but at the same time they don’t compensate for poor pelvic position with the use of spinal extension. Instead, they target specific muscles to keep your core working intensely, forcing a few groups of essential core enhancing muscles to support the entire weight of your upper body.
It also improve hip flexibility which can be very tight in a lot of people especially for those that sit down for long periods.
The Major Muscles Targeted In Lunges
Despite being overall simple and easy to perform, lunges are known for their remarkable ability to target multiple muscle groups. As we have already seen, they can improve core stability quite well, but at the same time they also target the glutes in your butt and hips, as well as the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles in your thighs.
The abdominal muscles and several back muscles act as stabilizers while you’re doing this exercise, and lunges also target your calf muscles quite intensely.
Although they are known as calisthenic exercises, lunges are also categorized as resistance training exercises. Together with the many muscle groups they target, this fact makes lunges an excellent addition to virtually any fat burning or endurance enhancing workout session.
How to Perform a Lunge
There are several types of lunges you can perform, depending on the specific muscle groups you want to work on. Here are a few basic tips on how to do a basic forward lunge:
- Forward lunges are performed in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and firmly on the ground.
- Start by relaxing your shoulders, flexing your abdominal muscles and keeping your back straight and stable throughout the exercise.
- Keep your hands in a position that allows you to easily maintain your balance, and move your right leg forward.
- Lower your body gradually, until both your knees are bent to a 90-degree angle and your left knee touches the floor.
- Next, push yourself back into the initial position supported by your right foot. Finally, repeat the exercise with the other leg forward as well.
If you have the space instead of bring the leg back you can step forward with the other foot and do walking lunges. In order to increase the resistance of the exercise place a dumbbell in each hand.
Now consider this simple set of instructions on doing a side lunge:
- Side lunges are started from the same position as forward lunges. Instead of moving forward, lift your right foot by bending your knee, and step to the right, keeping your left leg straight and your back erect.
- Once your right foot touches the ground, bend your right knee and try to reach a 90-degree angle (it may take some time until you can do that without any discomfort).
- Finally, push back into your initial standing position, and repeat the exercise with your left leg as well.
You can also add twists to your lunges and improvise using weights and other bodybuilding tools and combined exercises in order to target specific muscle groups, or intensify your workouts.
The benefits of lunges is that they are extremely effective for weight loss, building up your leg muscles, developing your core and improves balance and coordination. Best of all, they are among the simplest and most practical exercises that any beginner should start with.