The Benefits Of Lunges

LungesThe lunge is a fitness staple. Lunges are great because they not only strengthen your legs and shape your backside, this single exercise works the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and abs all at once.

There are many benefits of lunges for people of all fitness levels, from those simply trying to stay in shape to elite amateur and professional athletes.

Forward vs Reverse Lunge:

Forward Lunge:

The forward lunge has long been a staple in leg workouts, and with good reason. Research shows that it is one of the most effective exercises for eliciting a high level of muscle activity in the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and hamstrings—significantly more than other common lower-body exercises such as the bodyweight squat.

This type of lunge is also referred to as an acceleration lunge, being that the body is moving forward and then backward, which results in a greater challenge that can make it a problem for people with any knee pathology.

Here is a good resource on how to do it properly, along with this one.

Reverse Lunge:

Reverse lunges give the body an opportunity to move in a direction that most of us do not spend much time moving. It is also difficult to balance in reverse lunges because the center of gravity always remains between your two feet.

When it comes to forward lunges, the center of gravity moves forward with the body during the forward stepping motion, so the reverse lunge may be an option for people who have problems with balance.

In comparison to the forward lunge, with reverse lunges you are moving your body up and down and not through space and you will need less force than a forward lunge, which allows for an opportunity to train the muscles of the stance leg with less stress on the joints.

Muscles Affected by Lunges:

The lunge workout works several muscle groups at once. The affected muscles include the glutes in hips and butt along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in lower legs, abdominal muscles and back muscles react as stabilizers during lunges workout.

Benefits of Lunges:

Leg Strength:

Forward lunges, also called basic lunges, take advantage of a body weight to strengthen the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps of your front thigh. This exercise also affects the hamstrings, located in your posterior thigh, and the gastrocnemius and soleus of the calf. It is recommended to alternate legs while performing this exercise because the forward leg does most of the work during a forward lunge.

Lunges workoutDerriere Tone:

Lunges are also a good way to improve a toned derrière. According to the American Council on Exercise, lunges are one of the best exercises to strengthen your gluteal muscles and give your bottom a firm, rounded shape.

Core Strength:

If you want improve your core strength, then lunges are one of the best exercises to achieve that. It will also lead to better posture and balance. The core muscles are in your abdomen, back, chest, pelvis and buttocks and they perform the critical function of enabling you to adjust and maintain your position without losing your balance.

Hip Flexibility:

Sitting for extended periods may cause tightness in the muscles that bend, or flex, your legs at the hips. Lunges stretch these muscles, improving the flexibility of your hip joints and preventing low back pain caused by tight hip flexors.

The way you can increase the hip-stretching effect of a forward lunge is by resting your lower knee on the floor, tightening your abdominal and gluteal muscles, and moving your hips slightly forward while in the lunge position.

Tips To Get Maximum Benefit of Lunges:

In order to get maximum benefit from forward lunges and to avoid injuries, position your body carefully when performing the exercise.

  • You should also keep your back straight and avoid leaning forward as you lower your body.
  • Your shoulders must be aligned with your hips throughout the exercise, and keep your head up and facing forward.
  • Keep a forward knee over your ankle as you lower your back knee toward the floor.
  • Avoid extending the knee of your forward leg past your ankle. In the event you feel wobbly, you can use a chair or the wall to steady yourself when you do lunges.

Any questions? Leave a comment below.

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Gillian Callaghan
 

Gillan is a passionate health and fitness writer that regularly contributes to ThinkHealthiness.com, as well as other sites across the web.

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