Lunges are a very popular strength training workout, which tones and strengthens your body and also boosts your overall fitness. This exercise targets almost every muscle in your lower body, including your back, legs, and hips, and also improves your entire mobility. Though lunges are popular among regular exercisers, this exercise is best for cyclists and runners.
When performing a lunge, your quads, hips, glutes, core, adductor and hamstring muscles all get engaged, which further helps to boost your leg strength and overall endurance. And because this exercise is a one-leg movement, it also helps in muscle balancing by targeting one leg at a time.
But if you want to get the most out of this strength training exercise, then doing it in the correct form and with the right technique is of utmost importance.
While performing any exercise, it is crucial to do it in the right form so that it targets the right muscles and also prevents any type of injury. The same goes with lunges, and because they work on almost all the muscles in your lower body, it is even more important to perform them correctly.
So, here’s how you can do a proper lunge:
- Stand straight with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart.
- Tighten your glutes and make sure your hips are straight and not on either side.
- Now take a step forward with your left leg while keeping both your feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly lower your body towards the ground while keeping your back totally straight.
- Bring both your legs to a 90-degree angle with your back knee under your hip and your front knee over your front ankle. Ensure your shoulder, ear, hip bone and back knee are all in a straight line.
- Now press back with your front foot and return to the starting position.
- Switch sides and repeat the same with your other leg.
The front knee should not go ahead of your front ankle while lunging
In addition to keeping your form right when performing lunges, here are a few common mistakes you should avoid.
- Don’t bend or curve your back. Maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.
- Your knees should be bent properly and you should maintain a good balance.
- Don’t step too backwards or forward when doing this exercise. This can make you lose your balance and overuse muscles.
- Do not put your front knee in front of your front ankle. Your front knee should be properly aligned with your ankle.
- When bending your upper body forward, make sure you do not bend it too much. Also, don’t bend your back on your way up.
- Don’t move too fast. Go as fast as you can do the lunges correctly and safely. Performing lunges too fast can compromise the exercise’s form and your balance.
Beginners should start with two to three sets of at least 10 lunges per leg. For people who workout regularly, it's best to go with four to five sets of 20 lunges.
Lunges help tone the lower body muscles
Lunges are one of the most effective multi-joint workouts that help strengthen and tone muscles in your lower body. Lunges target:
- Your back muscles
- Gluteal muscles, etc.
Other than targeting these muscles, lunges also offer many benefits, including:
1) Weight loss
Doing regular lunges aids in weight loss as this exercise increases your metabolism and allows you to trim down excess weight. So, if you are willing to lose weight, push your limits and include lunges in your other strength training workout routine.
2) Improves posture
Lunges make your back and core muscles stronger without compromising on your spine. This reduces the chances of pain and injury and improves your overall posture, thus making you more flexible and strong.
3) Enhances your balance
Since lunges are a one-leg movement, they charge up the stabilizing muscles of each leg and help improve your stability and balance.
When compared to squats, which is another lower-body workout, lunges are more effective as the split stance in the latter allows you to work on each leg independently.
The benefits of doing lunges are many, however, the most important thing is to keep your form right. Any wrong movement or wrong posture when performing a lunge can lead to pain and injury. So, get the technique and form right, and do include lunges in your everyday workout routine.