Lunges are one of the BEST bodyweight exercises around. You can do them anywhere, they firm up your backside, give you a shapelier bottom (who doesn’t want that?) and they also strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. The lunge is also a great conditioning exercise for many sports and activities, including those that involve lunging movements like tennis, soccer, and basketball. I’ve always liked lunges because there are so many ways to change them up, and they get the job done. If you incorporate lunges into your weekly exercise routine, you will see the results of your efforts in your bottom half!
How To Do A Basic Forward Lunge
With your chest lifted, chin up and abs contracted take a big step forward with your left foot. Sink straight down so your front left knee tracks over the top of your shoe and your back right knee points down toward the floor. You are on your back left toe. Push back to the starting position. Repeat on the right leg. Keep alternating. A good place to start is with 10-12 lunges on each leg and work your way up to 3 sets.
Tweak your way to proper form:
- Keep your knees aligned- front knee over your shoe and back knee pointing down.
- Watch yourself lunge with a side view mirror. Make sure you aren’t leaning too far forward or back or rounding your spine.
- Keep your knees, hips and shoulders all facing in same direction- forward.
- Think about how you are distributing your body weight. Don’t force your weight into your kneecaps but rather use them as a hinge. Engage your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
Go For Reverse Lunges: Same idea as the forward lunge expect you step backwards. Keep your front knee tracking over your shoe and your back knee points down.
Do Walking Lunges. Walking lunges are the same as basic lunges except you alternate legs and you keep walking (moving) forward. Try doing walking lunges across the floor and back several times in a row. Add a set of dumbbells and do some overhead shoulder presses while lunging and watch your heart rate go up!
Try Cross Behind Lunges. (Also known as curtsy lunges – See picture below.) Cross one leg back and behind the other, and come down into a curtsy lunge. The front foot stays flat on the ground and you are on the toe of your back foot. Pay attention to your knees and make sure to step far enough back so you are using your quads and not forcing weight into your knees.
Add Weight. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and increase the resistance for a challenge. Better yet, add in an upper body exercise like bicep curls and get more bang for your buck!
There are even more variations of the basic lunge: you can change directions, add a medicine ball, or add tempo changes—but before you go there, master the basic lunge and watch your results!
For a demonstration of how to do a proper lunge, watch this quick video: