Lunges are a simple yet highly impactful way to work your lower body. It’s not simple in that you can’t feel the burn. It’s simple in that it requires no equipment at all, unless you want to throw in a couple weights to change things up a bit. With lunges, you’ll have to fight the urge to “cheat” with your positioning.
Try to strike the right balance between sinking too low and not lowering yourself enough.
Lunges not only work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, groin, and sometimes your hip flexors and lower back, but they also activate your core just enough to keep you steady. So, go on and read these workout tips, watch the demos, and plunge into each lunge — right in your own comfortable living room!
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#1 – Bodyweight Lunge
The bodyweight lunge is the most basic type, but it’s important to include a foundational lunge here because they’re easy to perform incorrectly. To prevent injury, make sure you don’t lunge too far forward, and keep your knee from dipping inward. To see this correction in action, check out this video with John Rusin. He also offers an alternative way to move into a lunge, which you may find helpful:
#2 – Bodyweight Side-to-Side Lunge
A lunge can also change direction. It’s not limited to forward motion. That’s where the bodyweight side-to-side lunge (also called the “lateral lunge”) comes into play. Get a nice, deep dip to one side, but keep your hip even with your bent knee. Your groin won’t feel much impact here, but your hip flexors will. After a few reps on one side, switch sides to even things out.
#3 – Alternating Plyometric Lunge
We’re bringing the heat with these alternating plyometric lunges! This brisk, punchy exercise helps increase your speed, power, and heart rate. It’s fun to do, but your legs might feel like jello after your first set. As with all lunges, watch your posture. Start out slowly if you need to, and gradually take your speed to the next level. You don’t want to pull a muscle!
#4 – Dumbbell Lunge
If you have a pair of dumbbells lying around, you can make a lunge more interesting with some extra weight. In this way, the dumbbell lunge activates your lower back for stability. Don’t lift the weights; use the force of gravity to keep them hanging steadily near your hips. Switch legs each time you push forward.
#5 – High Knee to Lateral Lunge
The high knee to lateral lunge literally kicks the side-to-side (lateral) lunge up a notch. For the lower body, your quads and hamstrings get the most benefit, but the diagonal you form with the high knee warms up your abs, too. This exercise is a fresh way to warm up your body and get your blood flowing. Crank up the tunes, and give it a shot!
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