The lunge is an easy-to-learn, safe, and incredibly effective exercise for those looking to strengthen and tone the lower body. Lunges are one of the most important multi-jointed exercises for targeting the lower body muscles as well as stabilizing the core. By executing lunges in a proper way you will be stimulating all of the muscles in your lower body; the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, gastrocnemius, and soleous muscles, leaving nothing out and while getting an amazing workout!
Lunges are great for balance training as they are unilateral exercises, meaning they train one side of your body independently from the other, helping one to gain better balance and stability in daily tasks and workouts. If you’re aiming just for strength, you’ll want to try exercises like squats which work both legs at the same time, but nothing can beat the lunge for balance or stabilization training.
For beginners you can try and hold on to a chair for better balance until you have perfected the proper form. From there, complete 10 reps per leg. Once you feel comfortable with the form and rep amount, you can also try walking lunges. This can give you a great lower body workout wherever you are! Walking to the mailbox or even just walking around the house, adding in some lunges is a great way to work on balance and strength daily!
How to perform the lunge properly:
Step 1- Begin the forward lunge in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a big step forward with the right leg and plant your foot out front, keeping your body relatively straight.
Step 2- Your knee should stay over your ankle and not extend out over your toes to minimize stress on the knee joint. Keeping your weight balanced on your right heel and left toes, lower your hips toward the floor. Your back leg should bend at the knee during a forward lunge.
Whether it’s your first time trying a lunge or you’re already performing them, the key is to tackle the proper form and keep the lunge a regular in your routine. There is never a time in our lives where balance is not of importance, especially as we age. Learning a stabilizing and balance promoting move can have many positive active life benefits!