When it comes to working on the lower body, lunges can be one of the most beneficial and functional exercises. What I mean by that is everyday we lunge down to pick things off the ground, whether its groceries, laundry, or our kids. However, too many times when we workout in the gym enviroment, we do things in a straight line or linear pattern. Do you think you function like that in the real world?
No way. I want to discuss a few variations to maximize yur physical potential, mimic lifestyle movements, and create variety in your exercise routine. Always keep in mind if you do lunging moves with just bodyweight to start and you feel pain, go get it checked. Better to be safe than sorry. Okay, let’s talk lunging: First is the normal dumbbell lunge. Stand with feet together a pair of light to moderate dumbbells to start held by side. Lunge out about 3 feet with your right foot keeping your back straight and lowering weights toward floor. Keep your knee in line with your toes, and don’t let them go over knee. Go down as far as possible, NOT allowing the back knee touch the ground. Pause for a sec then push up hard and take an exhale. Tip: If you take a further lunge you will target more butt muscles, a narrower lunge more thighs. Use a barbell for a more challenging lunge. Second, is the lateral lunge. This variation is good for the inner thigh or groin muscles. Stand with the weights in hand as described above. This time take a lunge to the side and lower weights down towards floor. Keep back flat and butt out as you do it. Go down almost to ground and pause a sec, push off explosively to starting position. Keep the knee in line with toe and you shoulders square with the rest of the body. Lateral moves are a big part of our normal everyday activity, and this should be incorporated into your routine from time to time. This frontal plane lunge as us trainers call it is good for sports like hockey and soccer. You can also use a barbell for more of a challenge.
Lastly with have the rotational lunge. If you want to target the butt muscles, try this one. Stand with weights at side and then rotate right leg to a 10 o’clock position. Your basically turning your body around and opening your hips up. This move requires you to have greater stability and balance, so you may just have to start with bodyweight. This is called the transverse plane and you do lots of these rotational moves in everyday life aswell. Their are 6 deep muscles in the butt that are really involved when you do this exercise. If you have tight hip flexors, the muscles that bring your knee toward your chest, you may have problems doing lunges due to the fact you won’t be able to get good range of motion. If that’s the case you must do regular stretches to loosen that area up, it will make a big difference in your training. So you see, there are other ways to do lunges then just the old standby you see so many times, try all three of these lunges and you will get a better overall workout and improve your functional capacity.