What is Lunge Exercise?
Lunge is one of the most effective exercises for the lower body. It primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. It also has other benefits like increased mobility of muscles including your lower back and abdomen. Lunges are categorized as a ‘compound Exercise’ i.e, an exercise which targets more than one muscle.
How to Do Lunge Exercise?
• Stand upright.
• Your feet should be as wide as your hips.
• Place your hands on your hips.
• Move your right leg forward as if you are about to take a step.
• Your heel should land first.
• Lower your right leg until the thigh becomes parallel to the floor.
• Your knee should align with your foot.
• Your other knee should be close to the floor but should not touch the ground.
• Using your heel, spring back up to the starting position.
• Repeat the same movement with the other leg.
Lunge Exercise Variations
The lunge has many variations. Let us discuss a few of them:
1. Forward Standing Lunge
This is the simplest and the standard form of the lunge. Its details are explained above.
2. Reverse Standing Lunge
This is just the opposite of the forward standing lunge. Stand upright with your feet as wide as your hips. Step backwards with your right leg while keeping your left knee bent; instead of landing your heel first you have to push your toes against the floor. Lower your body down towards the floor so that your left thigh is at a right angle to the floor. Your knee should be aligned with your foot; it should not be behind or ahead of your foot. Your right leg should be almost parallel to the floor but should not touch it. Raise yourself back upwards to the starting position and repeat the movement with the left leg.
3. Walking Lunge
To perform a walking lunge, stand upright with your feet as wide as your shoulders, just like the forward lunge. Take a step forward with your right leg, making sure that your knee does not move ahead of your foot and make an angle of 90 degrees with the floor. Your heel should land first; press your heel into the floor and get up but instead of moving backwards to the starting position, move your left leg forward and repeat the same movement. Keep alternating between the two legs and move forward like you would walk.
4. Weighted Lunge
You can perform both the standing lunge as well as the walking lunge by holding dumbbells in both your hands. Use the weight you can lift easily, stand upright with the same weight dumbbells in both hands, resting side by side with your hips. Perform a forward lunge, a reverse lunge or a walking lunge. It is better to perfect the form first without weights so that you do not hurt your knees.
5. Jumping Lunge
As with the standing lunge, when you assume the lunge position with your right leg then instead of getting up and standing, you have to jump up and while mid-air you have to switch the position of your feet so that your right leg shifts behind you while your left leg moves forward. Land on the ground gently in lunge position with the other leg. Repeat the movement alternating between the legs every time you jump.
Tools Used for Lunge Press Exercise
• Proper gym attire is very important for safety as well as performance.
• You can use braces for your ankles and knees if you are a beginner and feel pain in them.
• Wear the proper training shoes that reduce the pressure on your joints.
Most Effective Lunge Warm-up
Your workout routine should always begin with a warm-up. This ensures that your muscles become more mobile and your blood flow increases which in turn will reduce the risk of injury.
• Perform a cardio session of 10-15-minutes; you can do running or use a treadmill in order to warm-up.
• You can perform leg press exercise using light weights to warm up your legs.
• Burpees or box jumps can also be performed for warm-up.
• A session of rope skipping, lasting 10-15 minutes is also an effective way of warming up your body.
• Perform dynamic and static stretching exercises for 10 minutes before starting your workout..
• Perform a slow to moderate speed walk on the treadmill to relax your calves and hamstrings.
• Stretching after your workout for 10 minutes will relax your muscles and make you less prone to injury.
• Drink lots of water or have a nice healthy smoothie to cool yourself.
Lunge Exercise Safety Precautions
• Ask your trainer to first demonstrate the lunge exercise for you if you are new to it.
• When performing weighted lunges be careful to use the weight which is easy for you.
• Keep the dumbbells back in the rack when you are done using them.
• Use proper gym gear whenever you exercise.
Leg Press Common Mistakes to Avoid
• Always begin with a thorough warm-up.
• Always keep your knee and feet aligned in the lunge position. Moving it ahead or behind your foot can result in knee pain or injury.
• When performing weighted lunges, use weight which you can easily tolerate.
• When performing the forward lunge, land your feet heels first.
• When performing reverse lunge, always land your toes first.
• Do not bend your back while performing the lunge. Keep it upright.
• When performing a walking lunge, maintain your balance by keeping your feet as wide as your shoulders.
• Keep your neck straight.
Lunge Exercise Pre & Post Workout Recovery
• Using a massage device such as a percussion gun
before starting your workout can reduce the risk of injury. This is because it relieves muscle knots and improves blood circulation.
• Using a percussion gun after your workout can relax your muscles, prevent myofascia and speed up the recovery process.
• Drinking a protein-carb drink or eating a high protein-carb combination meal prior to your workout can enhance your performance.
• Consuming a protein shake after your workout would speed up post workout recovery.
Leg Press Exercise is Good for
• Improving hypertrophy of quadriceps, calves, glutes and hamstrings.
• Improving body balance by making your core and lower back more flexible.
• Releasing pressure on your lower body joints such as ankles and knees.
• Making your feet stronger.
• May alleviate heel pain.