hamstrings, glutes, gastrocnemious and soleous muscles.
In addition, lunges are as important as squats since they provide the same level of neuromuscular stimulation that squats offer; perhaps a bit more since you are exercising one leg at a time, which requires more balance and concentration.
Time Required: 30-40 seconds depending on amount of repetitions performed and setup time.
- Stand with your torso upright holding the dumbbells by your sides. This will be your starting position. (Note: You can also use a barbell on your back, or simply no resistance at all.)
- Step forward with your right leg around 2-3 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind, and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down. (Note: As in the other exercises, do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.)
- Using mainly the ball of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.
This is a movement that requires a great deal of balance so if you suffer from balance problems you may wish to either avoid it or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object. Definitely never perform with a
barbell on your back if you suffer from balance issues.
Another way to perform this exercise is to alternate each leg throughout the movement. For instance perform one repetition with the right, then the left, then the right and so on. The other way is to do what I call a static lunge
where your starting position is with one of your feet already forward. In this case, you just go up and down from that starting position until you are done with the recommended amount of repetitions. Then you switch legs and do the same.
A more challenging version is the walking lunges where you walk across the room but in a lunging fashion. For walking lunges the leg being left back has to be brought forward after the lunging action has happened in order to continue moving ahead. This version is reserved for the most advanced athletes.
- Lunges can be performed with dumbbells as described above or with a barbell on the back; though the barbell variety is better suited for the advanced athletes who have mastered the exercise and no longer have balance issues. Optionally, you can perform the exercise with no resistance.
- If you want to emphasize the glutes and the hamstrings, then press with the heels as you perform the movement.
- Starting out, all you need is your bodyweight.
- As you advance, dumbbells or a barbell can be used for resistance.