One of the top exercises that you should have in place during your lower body workout sessions is the lunge. Lunges are great as they’ll work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, as well as the core to some degree as well as it contracts to keep you stabilized.
They’re also a fantastic calorie burner. Do one set of walking lunges, aiming for 20 reps per leg and see if your heart rate isn’t sky-high by the time you’re done. You can easily boost your cardiovascular fitness with these, all without having to do hours of cardio training.
This said, not all lunge variations are created equally. Some will hit the muscles in a slightly different manner, so it’s important to choose wisely with your goals.
Let’s go over the main variations you should know.
The first variety is the basic walking lunge. For this one, you simply hold a pair of dumbbells down by your sides (if using weight) and walk across the room, one foot in front of the other.
This one is great for cardiovascular conditioning and will tend to hit both the quads and hamstrings equally.
Split Squat Lunges
The next option is the split squat lunge. This one is perfect for those who want to firm up and shape their backside as it’ll hit the glutes to a larger degree.
To do this one, you simply place one foot up on a bench behind you, holding a set of dumbbells by your sides (if using weight). From there, you bend the supportive leg, bringing the raised leg knee down as close to the ground as possible.
Once there, pause and then press back up. Complete all reps to one side and then switch sides and repeat.
To get the most from this exercise, you’ll want to think of pressing up through the heel of the foot, not the toes. This ensures optimal glute muscle activation.
Jump lunges are another great variety that add a plyometric element into the equation. Simply move down into a lunge and then spring up off the ground as high as possible, switching legs mid-air. Land a lunge position again, this time the opposite leg in front.
Keep repeating until all reps are completed. This exercise is great for cardiovascular conditioning and will help improve your power capabilities.
Finally, reverse lunges are the last move you might consider doing. To perform these, stand in an upright position and then take one step back behind you. Slowly lunge down into position.
Once there, pause and then come back up again. Keep doing this on the same leg or repeat legs and work both simultaneously.
This move will be excellent for working on your balance and agility ability, while also hitting your hamstrings to a slightly higher degree.
So next time you’re in the gym, consider one of these lunge variations. Switch it up between them to receive optimal strength and progress results.
Open Fitness is a great place to advance your fitness level as they offer a number of different classes including Yoga, Cardio, Dance, Pilates, and Bootcamp. Please see www.OpenFitness.com for more information.