Looking for a tighter rear end? Leaner Legs? Firmer Thighs? Then the Lunge may be exactly what you are looking for…
What Makes the Lunge Awesome?
The lunge is designed to work all the major muscles in the lower region — primarily the quadriceps, but also the glutes, hamstrings and calves. There are many forms of lunges, some requiring a step and/or weight — but the traditional lunge is 100% excuse free. You can drop and do them anytime, anywhere! And the results are fast, and good. Exactly what we’re looking for in a good challenge.
The July Lunge Challenge
So if the lunge is an excuse free, effective exercise how do we make the most of that? Turn it into a challenge of course! Rally the social media troops and get a few hundred people committed to doing 100 a day! Using the support from the community as an accountability tool, bragging forum and inspiration station — we can turn a dusty old exercise move into something new and exciting! Check out the details here and sign up — it starts TODAY!
Perfect Lunge Form
Even though the lunge is an incredibly effective exercise, many don’t do them because of the strain on their knees. Perfect from can help reduce pain and injury by avoiding unnecessary strain on your joints, so follow these critical steps:
- Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up. Find a point to stare at straight ahead, to keep yourself from looking down and keep your neck straight.
- Consciously engage your core. This will help with your balance and tighten your tummy.
- Step forward with one leg, lower your hips by bending both knees until they are both roughly at 90 degree angles. The farther down you go, the more challenging the exercise. Do not let the knee of your front leg extend past the foot. It is critical that stays at a 90 degree angle.
- Keep the weight in your heels and push yourself back up to your starting position. Think merry-go-round carousel horse here. Just straight up and straight down.
- Repeat, starting with the other leg.
Adding Variety to your Lunge
Once you’ve mastered the basic lunge, you can continue to challenge your limbs in other ways to keep the exercise effective and improve your results.
- Reverse Lunge: uses the same fundamental technique, you just simply step backwards instead of forward. The backward movement challenges your balance, will improve your fitness and may be easier on your knees.
- Side Lunge: Also similar, but you take the large step to the right or left instead of forward or backward, also making sure the knee does not extend past your toes and keep the other leg relatively straight. This allows you to work the major muscles a bit differently, and is also a bit friendlier on the knees.
- Jump Lunge: is a plyometric/cardio move and is somewhat advanced. You follow all the guidelines of the forward lunge, but jump in-between reps and switch your legs in mid-air. It’s tough!!
Using proper form, taking your time and being focused will go a long way when it comes to preventing injury when doing lunges. If you are feeling pressure on your knees, you can take smaller steps to reduce the range of motion. If you’re knees are still giving your trouble, you may want to limit the number of lunges you to and try these knee saving exercises from Prevention.com. You will still gain leg strength, which will in turn, give your knees more support.
If the July Lunge Challenge is too much for your daily, don’t do it. Double up every other day, take a rest day, do what your body needs. There is a fine line between good pain and bad pain and you are the best judge of that!
Be Smart. Be Safe. Get Fit. Have Fun!