The lunge is one of the most basic and well-known exercises. How to do the lunge exercise properly? Keep reading and find out. Its limited difficulty has led to multiple variations from a base position. However, for this article, a lunge is defined as any position of the body where one leg is held forward with the knee at a 90-degree angle and the foot placed flat of the floor while the second leg is held backward. This exercise is so popular because of its multiple variations and numerous applications. Some of these applications include:
- Cross-training: Athletes occasionally train in sports other than their regular sport. Lunges are one of the exercises used to improve overall fitness and performance.
- Weight trainers practice lunges to enhance fitness and core and lower body strength.
- Yoga practitioners also use it as a component of an asana regimen. An asana is a sitting position or one which is firm yet relaxed.
- Lunges are used to treat patients in physiotherapy.
As we can see, there are many benefits to doing lunges. However, to get these benefits, you must learn to perform it in the right way. Most exercise-related injuries occur as a result of these exercises not being performed correctly.
You will also lose the benefits of the exercise if you don’t do it properly. As a result of that fact it is essential to perform this exercise in the right way, we will first disciple how to execute a lunge properly.
How to do the lunge exercise?
For this tutorial, we will discuss the forward lunge. It is the most basic lunge as only slight alterations are made to execute other variations. I will break down the entire process into four major steps. At the end of this tutorial, you should be able to perform a lunge properly.
We will refer to this as the starting position. Retract your shoulder blades (scapulae) and at the same time, lower your shoulders. Stiffen your abdominal muscles to brace yourself for the exercise.
Many people struggle to maintain balance during the exercise because they overlook this step. Ensure your upper body is prepared to handle the strain of the exercise before moving to the other steps. This is important because it helps to avoid excessive shaking and stress on the spine.
The next step is to step forward with the leading leg. In preparing to do this, slowly lift the foot of the leading leg off the ground while taking time to balance your body on the supporting leg. Avoid swaying or shifting your body from side to side, and ensure that you try to avoid any movement of the supporting leg.
Hold this position for a few seconds until you can remain there with little effort. The leading leg should make contact with the ground first while slowly shifting he weight of your body to the leading foot. Avoid swaying or shifting your body from side to side, and ensure that you avoid any movement of the supporting leg
As you execute the lunge, you should direct your focus at lowering your hips to the floor rather than pushing them forwards. This will allow you to control the extent of forwarding motion of your shin over your foot.
Continue lowering your body until the thigh of the leading leg is parallel with the floor, and your shinbone has a slight forward lean. While doing this, push your hips slightly forward and maintain a straight back.
Finally, push up and back with your leading leg, activating your thigh and butt muscle to return to the starting position. You will benefit from practicing single leg stands on the ground before attempting the forward lunge. Once you master this basic lunge, you can try some variations by doing lunges with arm drivers for example. Weights can also be added to challenge the muscles even more.
Common mistakes made while doing lunges
Lunges are practiced for different reasons. Some do so as a part of physiotherapy to recover from some injury. Others do it simply to develop and tone their muscles. Usually, the physiotherapist ensures that their patients execute the exercise flawlessly.
However, when the same exercise is done with the purpose of looking good, the technique is thrown to the wind. Most people, however, are not to blame because they never learned the technique in the first place. Here are some of the common mistakes made when carrying out this exercise:
- Lunges are either too short or excessively long. Majority of the strain on the muscles during this exercise occurs during the steps forward and step back rather than the hold. Avoid holding the lunge position for too long. Hold for 2 or 3 seconds and then return to the starting position and repeat.
- Feet are placed on the same line while holding the lunge. This placement reduces stability and makes it harder to hold the position.
- You are leaning forward or backward during the movement. While holding the lunge position, avoid leaning forward or back. You should maintain a straight back.
- Jerky movements while lunging forward or stepping back.
Muscles used during the lunge
The lunges allow you to give your heart a work out while at the same time challenging multiple muscle groups at the same time. Some of the muscle groups targeted include the glutes of the hips and butt as well as the hamstrings and quadriceps of the thighs. Your calf muscles, abdominal muscles, and engage the muscles of the back for balance.
Whatever the purpose, lunges are among the best resistance training exercises you can perform. Being able to execute a lunge correctly indicates that you possess strong stability muscles, quads, glutes, core muscles and a host of other muscle groups.
To get the full benefit of this exercise, however, the proper technique must be employed. Take care to avoid common mistakes, follow the procedures and practice! Do this, and you’ll be on your way to getting all the benefits of the exercise.
Are you already able to do a lunge and maintain balance? Let us know in the comments below.