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How to Lunge: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Lunges are a powerful exercise, allowing you to shape and strengthen most of the muscles in your lower body. Learn how to do them with good form, and this exercise can become a valuable part of your resistance training or circuit training.

Target: Butt muscles, hamstrings, buttocks, hips and calves

Level: The one who started

How to make a swing

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Stand in a split position with your right foot about 2 to 3 feet in front of your left. Your torso is straight, shoulders back and down, body centered and hands resting on hips.

  1. Bend your knees and lower your body until your back knee is a few inches off the floor. At the end of the move, your front thighs are parallel to the ground, your back knees are facing the floor, and your weight is evenly distributed to both feet.
  2. Push back to starting position, keeping your weight on your front heel.

Benefits of Lungs

The lunge is a multi-joint exercise that can help tone and strengthen many of the muscles in the lower body. This includes the quads (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), glutes (buttock) and calves (back of the shin).

Your hip flexors are stretched during the hip swing. This improves their flexibility and counteracts the shortening and tightening that can occur when you sit for long periods of time. You also engage your core muscles for stability, which can help you maintain balance. and prevent injury.

Another benefit of lunges is that they are a functional exercise. This means that they mimic actions you take during everyday life, such as picking something up from the floor. Since the lungs work the large muscle groups in the lower body, it can even improve your metabolism.

When compared to other lower body exercises like squats, the split stance used in the crunch changes the load on your body, allowing you to work each leg more independently.

Other Variations of Lunge

Lunges come in many variations, allowing for more accessibility for newbies and advanced exercisers to increase the challenge.

Support lungs

With this lunge variation, you hold a stationary object like a wall or chair for better balance. This allows you to focus on form without worrying about leaning to one side or the other. Place your palm on the object to keep it stable as you lower and raise it again.

Stand so that the wall or chair is next to you and closest to your feet, further back.

Half Lunge

This variation involves a smaller range of motion because you’re only halfway down as far as in a standard squat, stopping before your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. This can help you stay in good shape without putting a lot of stress on your knee joint.

Front Legs Raised Lungs

Placing your front foot on a step or small platform is another modification to try if the frequent swaying is causing your knees to ache. Make sure your entire front foot is on the step or platform and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor.

Dumbbell Lunge

You can increase your vibration by holding weights during the move. The dumbbell swing follows the same basic steps except that you hold the dumbbell in each hand and your hands hang at your sides instead of on your hips.

Start with light weights and progress as you can perform the necessary reps with good form.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Barbell Lunge

A barbell allows you to use heavier weight when diving because the weight is more evenly distributed across the body. It is important to have a good balance before trying this version. Hold the barbell at shoulder height while doing this move.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Forward Lunge

In this lunge move variation, start by standing upright with your feet slightly apart, then take a big step forward. Lower your body until your front thighs are parallel to the floor. Your front knee stays on your toes. Next, press through your front heel to return to a standing position.

You can also do this move with dumbbells in each hand as you progress (as shown below). Because this variation requires more balance, it should only be done after you can master a basic lunge.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Forward Lunge With Reach

This move is great for the whole body and will challenge your balance and core strength. Step into a forward bend and fully extend your arms forward, as if pointing your fingertips toward a point a few feet away from you. Return your hands to your hips as you stand up.

Sliding Lunge

If you want an even more challenging lunge variation for your core and quads, the sliding lunge will deliver. Get into a split position with a sheet of paper under your back foot. Slide your back foot farther out as you lower into a crouch, pulling your foot out as you return to a standing position.

Lateral lung

The side lunge emphasizes the inner thighs, along with the hips and buttocks. Stand with your feet together, then step wide to the right (foot forward).

Bend your right knee and lower your body, making sure that your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes. Straighten your right leg and step back in, back to the starting position.

Adding a sheet of paper to the side lunge turns it into a side slide and creates more of a challenge for the inner thighs.

The hind legs raise the lungs

Raising the back leg makes the traditional lunge more advanced and focuses more on the quadriceps of the back leg.

Place the top of your back foot on a bench or exercise ball and do a swing in this position. Hold the dumbbells and extend them in front of you as you lower for more of a challenge, as shown in the picture.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Low lungs

Unlike the traditional lunge, this variation requires a tighter, smaller movement. This really challenges the glutes and thighs of the front leg while focusing on the muscles.

To do it, step back as far as you can with your back foot and bend your front knee to lower your body while keeping your back leg straight. Then straighten your front leg to return to the starting position.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Lunge Deadlift

This advanced exercise focuses more on the hamstrings and glutes of the front leg. Step into a lunge and twist forward with your hips while moving the dumbbell toward your front ankle. Bring your torso back to an upright position and stand up as you bring your front foot back.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Common mistake

Avoiding these errors can reduce the effectiveness of the lunge or even lead to muscle strain or injury.

Rushing too far forward

During somersaults, it’s easy to put undue stress on your knees by allowing the joint to extend past your toes. While your knees may point forward slightly, focus on lowering your body as you plunge rather than forward.

Another important point is to keep the front knee in line with your second toe throughout the movement. It can help you to narrow your hips slightly during the move and check your figure in the mirror.

Turn your knees outward

Because twisting can affect your balance, you can turn your back knee outward to try to find stability. Some people are even able to rotate the posterior knee spontaneously due to different biological mechanisms or ingrained habits they have picked up over the years.

Turning the knee out or in while shaking the head can lead to pain and injury. If you feel pain in your back knee, check your alignment in the mirror to make sure you’re not turning your knee in or out without noticing it.

The back knee should be facing the floor at the bottom of the lunge.

Angle too close or too wide

Everyone has a different posture based on height, leg length, and what feels comfortable. However, putting the feet too close together puts a lot of force on the knees while placing them too far apart can affect the flexibility of the hind legs and add to an already unstable position.

Test your posture by getting into a lunge position. Lower all the way down, placing your back knee on the floor (make sure you’re lying on a mat or other cushioned surface). Doing this allows you to see if you have a 90-degree angle in both knees. If you don’t, adjust your stance.

Safety and Precautions

If you have a knee injury or condition, talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if this move should be avoided or modified. (Keep in mind that even adjustments may not be right for everyone.) If you’re pregnant, limit sedentary training to only the third trimester.

Another factor to keep in mind is the flexibility of your abdominals and hip flexors. If these areas are stretched, your shape can be compromised and you may even feel a tugging sensation in your kneecap.

Avoid this by shortening your range of motion and/or lengthening the distance before plunging. If you feel pain during the lunge, end the exercise immediately.

Beginners can start with one exercise (such as a basic lunge) and do one to two sets of 10 to 16 reps, adding more weight as you feel comfortable. Intermediate and advanced practitioners can choose from one to three lunge variations per session, doing one to three sets of 10 to 16 reps.

Repeat all reps with one leg before switching sides (right-right-right, left-left-left). Even so, if you do a forward bend, you may want to alternate your legs (right-left-right-left).

Trial

Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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