You might be taking vitamins for muscle growth and repair, but is that all you need to build up your muscles? Of course not. A balanced diet may enable you to have a good body shape to some extent, but true exercise can only add to a good diet. If you focus only on one part, you will miss out on much better results than a well-rounded diet and good exercise can collectively give you.
But even an exercise has a pattern that needs to be followed. It starts up with a little push and stretch to your body, so it starts preparing for the processions, then starts the climax of the exercise where a sportsperson sweats to oceans. Then there is a gradual regression in that activity which concludes the whole assembly. Any sports activity or workout is preceded by a muscle warm-up exercise.
This exercise makes the body prepared for more athletic feats that an athlete has to perform. It relaxes the muscles and gives time to them so they can support the robust mobility that a sports person needs during play. These exercises are leg-bends, leg-swings, squats and lunges etc. Today we will discuss lunges in particular, their types, how to perform them, target the underlying muscles with lunge variations, and things to avoid while performing lunges.
What is a Lunge?
A lunge is an exercise for training your lower body. It strengthens your legs and hips, and it can be compared to the additional seasoning in your subway order which makes or breaks the entire meal. Lunges are no short of that additional flavour to exercise, and they allow you many variations to practice so you can make your exercise more fruitful.
How to Perform a Basic Lunge?
A basic lunge is probably the one we do every day without paying attention to it as part of the exercise or workout. It is called the stationary lunge, and it resembles you every day standing up and lifting up yourself from the ground. This is why lunge is also known to be a very functional exercise. It allows you to do your everyday activities and makes your body flexible to perform any agile movement efficiently.
To perform a stationary lunge
- Stand still.
- Put your one foot in front of the other; Just like when you are stepping, but make sure there is a
- significant distance between your front foot and back foot.
- Drop your body down, letting your knee support it.
- Repeat the same drill.
- After at least ten lunges, switch your foot position.
- Bring the back foot at the front, and vice versa.
- Rise and fall.
- Continue doing it until you feel your muscles are ready to help you out with your vigorous schedule.
Types of Lunges
Lunges are considered to be the best exercises specifically for the lower body. The lower body has numerous muscles, and one might wonder which muscles would be benefited from performing lunges. A workout enthusiast might also be looking forward to enabling all his muscles to experience the movements of the exercise.
For such people, lunges have many options. Depending on the type of lunge that one performs, they can target specific muscles and attack the regions of their muscles that they specifically want to work at. There are forward, reverse and side lunges etc. All these lunges allow for the agility of hamstrings, gluteus, medius, and quadriceps. They can also work on calf muscles to some extent.
Here are some types of lunges that you can perform;
Static Lunge or Forward Lunge:
This is a different name for the stationary lunge that we just mentioned. It is meant for beginners. You stand firm on the ground with your feet shoulder-width apart. You apply the ‘dropping off your body’ rule only to be carried back to its starting position through the support of your knee.
This exercise of this basic plunge engages the maximum amount of your muscles to get involved. It affects your hamstrings, glutes and quads, and puts pressure on the adductors Magnus (inner thigh).
The back lunge is also known as the reverse lunge. It resembles the forward lunge, but your rear foot should be allowed to participate this time around, the one that did not get a front roll before. Rules and principles remain the same.
Let your shoulders roll back, have a little front lean, and make your abs stiff before jumping into the rise and fall part of the activity. You can place your hands at the side or let them move in motion with your lunges. It is totally up to you. Giving them motion could also positively engage your arms muscles.
This lunge gives more space to your hip flexion.
Want to work up your glutes and hamstrings? Walking lunge is for you then. It is a dynamic variation and is especially effective for your primary muscles. The primary muscles are glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Walk-in a fashionably fit way. Lunge forward and step simultaneously. Keep changing the lead leg. It strengthens your whole lower body.
You can also perform a walking lunge with backward stepping.
Overhead Walking Lunge
You hold a weight over your head and perform the walking lunge. It is simple to define it, difficult to do it. But difficult roads have beautiful destinations, and nothing shakes up your body more than the difficult roads. The same goes for the overhead walking lunges. In addition to activating your lower body muscles, it also helps to send an energizer to the upper body muscles. It involves the shoulder muscles and the thoracic regions, and they make your body and abs.
Important for your core and legs, curtsy lunge could be a challenge. You have to align your knee with the direction of your toe, bringing back your other leg while one remains at the front. It is also called a reverse crossover lunge. It is one way of recruiting all the three gluteus muscles of your legs.
Front Foot Elevated Lunge
Put your leading leg on the support. Lean in a straight position. Push your leg farther back. Now keep bringing the knee of your rear leg to the front leg. Or the way you perform ordinary squats.
Rear Foot Elevated Lunge
This is another squat exercise. You support one of your legs on a bench or anything which gives a balanced lift to it. You may hold some weight in your hands and let your body rise and fall. During the process, do not let your supporting knee touch the ground. It helps build hip strength and mobility.
How to Target More Further Muscles with Lunge Variations?
The variations in the lunge exercises are way too beneficial. These variations help in compelling all of your body muscles to participate in the wake-up call for the body. The different variations also allow the active pulses to reach the underlying muscles, which are not always available. Now that you are familiar with several types of lunge variations, it will be easily understood how come these variations enable or target further muscles.
For instance, the walking lunge affects your glutes, hamstrings and quads, and they also have impacts on the inner and outer thighs. Reverse lunges target the glutes and help your knee joints to create an active response towards the hip flexion. On the other hand, the forward lunge with the use of dumbbells can help you with more balance and places stress on all three primary muscles. Furthermore, the curtsy lunge variations allow for more strength of the hip area and engulf the outer glute and a major class of thigh muscles.
Similarly, the variation of the rear foot elevation helps to recharge hamstrings and hip flexors. Moreover, they make use of glutes and quads while stretching other muscles present in the lower body. The front foot elevated lunge helps you recruit vastus medialis, and it is one of the four quadriceps and assists knee strength.
When it comes to lunges, everything you do has an impact. The variations are so much so dominant that taking a more forward lean would result in more glutes working hard. A smaller step upfront or backwards means you are targeting your quads, and a bigger step to the side means you are giving it to adductors.
All in all, we see that the different lunge variations help us with different functionalities, and this is why lunges are popular among fitness groups.
Advantages of Lunge Exercises
There are a number of advantages of Lunges. Some of these are mentioned below;
The lunge adds to the strength of your body. It is a multi-joint exercise that facilitates muscles like hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes to do your workout without any halts. It keeps your body fit and in shape.
An athletic body needs to be agile. Even ordinary people have nothing to do with sports. We all should have a flexible body. Flexible enough that we do not have to think twice before picking up a toy or litter on the floor. The lunges help us attain that level of athleticism. The lunges help stretch the hip flexors, which shortens the chances of tightening your back when you sit for too long.
We always hear that exercise is the way to control body weight. Indeed, it is! And how do lunges help us? Well, lunges are exercises too, and they help reduce our body fat by working on large muscle groups. They increase our resting metabolism because we are burning calories even during our relaxation, and no physical activity is involved.
As mentioned earlier, the lunge is a functional exercise, and it is actually an imitation of our daily life activities. It could plunge us into another controversy where Plato’s followers will come to lecture us about how imitation is slavish and a waste of time. In contrast, Aristotle’s supporters would come and preach us how lunges, despite being imitations are in reality a creative faculty useful to humans.
Still, we will not cling on to it and keep art and exercise separately. So, in imitation of our daily life activities, lunges are easy to get accustomed to. The field can easily understand the lunges for a beginner who just starts out at the gym or any other sport. By mimicking lunges at home, you could make significant progress in your swiftness of movement and mobility as well as lose weight easily.
Lunges allow you to depend on one side of your body. Ultimately, making both sides independent of each other and creating a balance. This unilateral exercise is thus able to produce an impactful balance in your body.
Since lunges enhance your core muscles and prepare your back for more daunting tasks, they contribute to your appearance. Your overall image lifts up. You look taller, and you stand upright without bending much. Your posture improves, and you escape the chance of injuries as well.
Things to Avoid while Lunging
People often come up with various problems and blame their lunging exercise for causing those problems. The truth is that they are right that their Lunging has caused them these upsets. There is a standard way of performing lunges. If you are going not to have the right posture for it or not the right sort of movements and alignments, you are putting yourself at risk of physiological errors through an activity that was supposed to keep you fit and healthy. People do make mistakes while practising lunges. Some of the common errors that they make are given below;
Step/Strides Length Mistake:
The step taken to keep your feet apart needs to be just enough that your knee does not cross your toe and remains intact with your leg. Here the knee is being mentioned for your front leg. Often, people keep the length of their step or stride short, and it does not place any stress on your legs, and you cannot see any significant change in them.
For performing lunges, there could be a certain posture that suits you but not others. For some, the leaning to the front posture helps achieve the required posture for performing lunges. For others, this posture does not work unless they stand upright and start lunging. Therefore, it is better to ask your physical trainers to help you with the posture that would best suit you and get maximum results. Just make sure that your torso is upright, so your spine is stacked vertically and should not be bent.
Do Not Rush:
Lunging is a warm-up exercise, and it could be used as a full course exercise as well. But it is a warm-up exercise that should not have anything to do with rushing it. People often try to speed up or start exercising vigorously before letting their bodies get adjusted to stretches. This could leave your body in a shocking delirium. Hence, it is important to slow down and start with lighter processes.
Choice of Variation:
Yet again, there will be a variation that your body will take time to adjust to while somebody else would easily get adapted to it. You must begin with variations that are easier for you to get used to and then practice difficult ones for you. Remember that Lunging makes both the sides of your body independent of each other. Your workout sessions will tell you which side is your dominant side and will enable you to improve on the weaker side. Just give it time and choose easier variations. Move to the complicated ones later on.
Lunges are powerful exercises. They bestow a body with more strength and viability. They involve numerous muscles in the body, helping you burn calories and lose weight. Furthermore, it also sparks up the mood of many people because it has so many variations to it. You can always keep making things more and more challenging by opting for different assimilates like dumbbells and weights while performing these squats. If you are feeling under the weather, you can skip through the difficult portion.
The point is that lunges provide you with many motivation and opportunities if you are serious about your body shape and image. Otherwise, exercises are a brilliant way of directing your energies positively and choosing a healthier lifestyle for yourself. So, if you are getting a chance to alter a few steps, there is no harm in it. You can walk while performing lunges, especially the walking lunge, or pick up the wrappers from the ground in a fit way.
Lunges are all about our daily life activities done athletically to keep healthy and maintain our postures till the very end of our ages. If done the right way, you could sustain its impacts for a long period.