What are lunge exercises?
Lunge exercises, or lunges as they are commonly called, are strength training exercises that are used to build fitness, strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Lunges work on several muscle groups such as hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps. A short lunge challenges your quadriceps while a long lunge emphasizes the gluteus muscles.
Before we talk about how lunges are done and what are their benefits, you need to understand lunges exercise meaning. Lunges exercise meaning is fairly simple. It refers to the exercise that involves the positioning of one leg forward with the knee bent while the other leg is positioned behind. In lunges exercise, the rear leg is activated and worked as much as the forward leg.
What are the different types of lunges that you can do?
There are several variations of lunges exercise that one can do to work on different muscle groups. Lunges workout is usually done using one’s body weight. However, people who want to challenge their muscles, use weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells, or barbells to crank this exercise up in different types of lunges.
Here is a roundup of some of the most-effective lunges exercise variations:
- Side lunges: Also known as lateral lunges, side lunges are an effective exercise to develop balance, stability, and strength. Side lunges train your body to move from side to side improving your flexibility and coordination. Lateral lunges are great for helping you lose weight faster.
- Curtsy lunges: Curtsy lunge is an excellent variation of lunges that involves holding your lower body in the position of a curtsy. Curtsy lunges effectively engage your inner thigh muscles and glutes and stabilise your ankles.
- Walking lunges: An excellent variation on the otherwise static lunges, walking lunges involve a forward movement to mimic a walk. Walking lunges exercise helps in improving your functional abilities and flexibility of the hips.
- Reverse lunges: In reverse lunges, you will be stepping backwards with one of your legs. Reverse lunges put less pressure on your joints and activate your core, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Barbell lunges: Barbell lunges are a great variation on bodyweight lunges and involve the use of weights. This simple exercise works and challenges your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
- Forward lunges: In forward lunges, you will be taking a large step in the front and lowering your legs till they are at an angle of 90-degrees. Forward lunges are a great way to burn calories and give you a toned appearance. They challenge, tone, and strengthen your quadriceps. Abdominals, back muscles, gluteal muscles, calves, and hamstrings.
- Weighted lunges: While the basic lunges are bodyweight lunges that use the weight of your body to tone and add strength, all of them can be done as weighted lunges too. You can use weights such as barbells and dumbbells to add more weight and create resistance. Weighted lunges help burn more calories and add strength to your abs, calves, quads, and hamstrings.
- Jumping lunges: Jumping lunges are an advanced version of the standard lunge exercise. This jumping movement adds additional intensity and helps strengthen your quads, glutes, hip flexors, and calves. Not just this, jumping lunges are also a great cardio workout that helps crank up your cardiovascular system.
- Dumbbell lunges: As the name suggests, dumbbell lunges are a weighted variation of the basic lunges exercise. This is one of the best dumbbell exercises that make your core, hips and back stronger.
What are the benefits of lunge exercises?
Different types of lunges have different health benefits not just for your mind but also for your body. Here are some of the most important benefits of a lunges workout:
- Your core forms the basis of every activity that you do in a day. Regularly practising lunges exercise make your core stable and strong. This helps in reducing and preventing back pain and improves your posture too.
- Lunges, especially reverse lunge exercises and walking lunge exercises, help in improving your balance and coordination. This stabilisation benefit is better than what you achieve from other exercises such as walking exercises and jumping jacks. This, in turn, helps prevent injuries from falls.
- While most exercises put a load on your spine leading to its wear and tear sooner than later, lunges variations such as side lunges exercise and reverse lunge exercise don’t pressurise your spine too much. Instead, by working on other parts of your body, they make your spine more flexible and stronger.
- Practising side lunges exercise and walking lunges exercise regularly help in improving your hip mobility and reduce pain and stiffness in the lower body. This is especially beneficial for people who lead sedentary lives.
- The importance of lunges for weight loss cannot be stressed enough. They help burn a huge amount of calories and prevent weight gain, even more than other exercises such as crunches. This benefit of lunges for weight loss saves you from several obesity-related health problems.
- By working all the major muscles and bones in your body, these exercises help in maintaining the optimum muscle mass and bone density in your body.
- By working on and challenging some of the largest muscles in your body such as the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, they improve your lower body strength. This is very beneficial for people who want to improve their gym or sports performance.
How should you correctly practise a lunge exercise?
Here is how to practise lunges correctly:
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Step forward slowly with one leg till it makes a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- The knee of the back leg must remain parallel to the ground.
- Bring your lunging leg to the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Start by doing 10-12 reps per leg.
Lunges exercises are a simple yet versatile way to improve your fitness. Beginners and those at advanced levels can do them easily. These exercises don’t require investment in fancy gym equipment or spaces and can be practically done anywhere. Just ensure that you learn their proper technique from an experienced trainer or by joining an online fitness class.
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