As you place a step ahead of the other one in lunges, the same way your fitness level advances a step ahead. The lunge is essentially a resistance exercise that is performed to strengthen the lower body. The most pondered question is- what muscles do lunges work on? Well, lunges can work a variety of muscles for you based on the variation you do.
Talking of a simple, most basic form of the lunge, it works on the following muscles:
Lunges provide variously functional movements. You can try the variation that we just list down below for better results in a wider scope. But before that, you need to understand how a perfect lunge is done. Check with the instructions below if you’ve been doing it right or not.
How to do lunges?
Lunges are a great way to work up your quads and glutes. These also prepare your body for high-intensity exercise and yoga, and athletics altogether. Take a look at the right way of going a lunge.
- Stand up tall and straight with body weight equal on both feet.
- Now step forward by bringing one leg forward while not moving the other one. Step as the leg reaches at 90 degrees of angle.
- Now with one foot in front of the other, and your hands at the waist, try to sit. The leg forward should make a 90 degrees angle with thighs falling parallel to the ground. While the knee of the rear leg should firmly touch the ground. The calves of the rear leg are parallel to the ground in this manner.
- Make sure the front knee does not cross the line of the toes of that foot.
- As you complete the lunge, lift the front leg to return to the initial position.
- You may do as much as 10-12 reps with one leg. Then change the position with another leg in front and do 10-12 reps with the other one.
Variations in Lunges:
Lunges can be done with multiple variations. This helps to gain differs perspective of the exercise. Also, the muscles that are not involved in the basic lunge can be put to work with different variations. Different muscles at activated as a result of different variations.
For example, doing a lunge towards the side instead of doing it forward will target a different set of muscles. Not just this, it also helps you gain flexibility, strengthen your thin muscles, etc. Let us look at the different variations of lunges one by one.
The fundamental lunge of all time is the walking lunge. Though nothing much really changes it helps in making the basic lunge more activated and worked up by increasing the heart rate. Here’s how you should be doing a walking lunge:
- Basically, you do the simple lunge first. So step a foot forward and bend at 90 degrees with back straight.
- Now, as you complete the lunge, you do not return to the original position. Rather, you bring your other leg forward and continue doing the lunge.
- As your other leg is forward, you lunge again, and then the first leg comes forward, and this is how it continues.
- The core, hips, and glutes are mainly targeted with walking lunge.
Walking lunges also check your ability to balance. It requires additional strength than a stationary lunge to balance the body in a straight line.
Being just the opposite of the basic stationary lunges, reverse lunges put more stress on your knees and help to strengthen and tone the legs. Let’s see how you should do it:
- Stand upright with hands on the waist or however you prefer it.
- Now, for reverse lunges, you take a step backward instead of stretching it forwards. The leg that you lift goes backs and its knee firmly touches the ground, if possible. Else, makes sure the calves are parallel to the ground of the leg at back.
- The leg stationary in the front should make a 90° angle.
- If you wish to challenge yourself more, you can try putting your hands over your head.
Dumbbell lunges work up the muscles of the legs.
- Stand upright with dumbbells in both your hands by your sides.
- Now take a step ahead and lunge with one of your legs. Make sure the knee does not go past the toes of the foot to avoid stressing the knees too much.
- Also, try to brush the hind knee with th floor.
- Use the heels of your feet to push you back to the starting position.
This occurs to be an advanced level of lunges. The jump lunges add a level of fitness higher than the basic lunges with the addition of the jump. The intensity of the walking lunges is increasing by the mere addition of a jump to the exercise. Here’s the right way to perform jumping lunges:
- Prepare yourself for the jump. For a jumping plunge to be successful, you need to switch the legs in the air before landing.
- Bend your knees forward and sink down as in a deep lunge. Now lean slightly forward to involve your core muscle for additional strength.
- As you sunk your weight forwards, explode with a bump and jump up as high as you can. While being in the air, bring both feet together and then switch the legs.
- The leg in front goes back and the one at the back is now at the front.
- As you can with the legs switched, maintain balance. The knee of the front leg should not go beyond the toes of the same foot. Let your heels touch the ground. Do not put the entire weight on the toes of the front foot.
- Keep hips and knees back and let them absorb the jump. Remember not to lock your knees at this point.
- Again, drop to perform a deep lunge before you jump and repeat the exercise with the same intensity and instructions.
As talked about earlier, lateral lunges are the side lunges. Here, the leg does not go in front. Rather it is picked up and put at the said of the body.
- Stand straight with hands clasped together.
- Now lift one leg and stretch it out to its side as much as possible maintaining firm balance.
- As you do this, bend down with your back straight. Bend until the other leg makes a 90 ° angle.
- Get up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
This one is rather a lunge with a cross formation of the legs intercross each other as you do curtsy lunge.
- Stand with legs shoulder-width apart.
- Now shift your weight to the right foot, and step back the left leg in the opposite direction making a cross with the right leg.
- Position your arms in front to balance and comfort the position. Chest stays upright, back status straight and you too once your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Now push back with the left foot toes and return to the initial position.
Alternating lunges are just the same as basic lunges. Or say, basic or stationary lunges are given another name called alternating lunges.
Smith machine lunges:
For this one, you set up a smith machine with the bar of the machine over your shoulders. Now with the weight in your body, you perform the lunges with your legs.
For performing Romanian lunges, one leg goes behind and the feet of that leg are kept at a height. Preferably a platform higher than the ground or a small stool or chair. Now you can hold dumbbells by your sides to increase the intensity of the exercise. And bend down until the front leg from a 90° angle.
The same basic lunge is performed with a barbell over your shoulders. Make sure you keep your back straight and do not stress your knees for a longer time to avoid injury.