Lunges Exercise: Toning Your Lower Body
Lunges work the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They are similar to squats, but instead you move your legs in a forward/backward instead of a upward/downward motion. You can use your own body weight, a barbell, or dumbbells.
There are many different ways to do lunges, since they are such a compound movement. Try to take a big step each time for a good workout, and proper form. Lunges are often called alternating lunges, because you switch legs each time.
- Main Muscle Group Used: Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads
- Secondary Muscle Groups Used: Calves, Obliques
- Experience Level: Beginner
- Exercise Type: Strength
- Equipment Required: None;Barbells;Dumbbells
To perform the Lunges exercise:
- From a standing position, pick up barbells/dumbbells if using any.
- Make sure you have feet shoulder width apart (holding any dumbbells at arm’s length).
- Inhale, and lunge forward with your lead leg.
- As you are moving forward, you want to lower your hips as well.
- Make firm contact with the ground on your lead leg forming a 90 degree angle with the ground.
- Exhale, and move back to starting position.
- Inhale, and repeat the exercise.
- Switch legs after desired number of reps.
Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Harley Pasternack, says for proper form when doing lunges:
Imagine being knighted or proposing marriage.
Here is a Gold’s Gym trainer explaining the Lunges Exercise:
Popular Lunge Workouts
Plenty of athletes and celebrities use the Lunges exercise as part of their leg workouts:
- The Kim Kardashian workout uses Side Lunges during her workouts. This variation works her butt and core, in addition to her legs. She also uses Skater Lunges.
- The Gwen Stefani workout also uses these exercises, as she uses the same trainer that Kim Kardashian does, trainer Gunnar Peterson.
- The Sofia Vergara workout and the Jennifer Lopez workout both use the lunge and side lunge exercises. This helps to keep their glutes, legs and butt toned.
- Jennifer Aniston uses Crescent Lunges, a yoga variation, during her workouts with trainer Mandy Ingber.
- Mila Kunis used Alternating Lunges during her PACE workouts. This just means you alternate legs each rep.
- Ashley Borden uses the Dumbbell Reverse Lunges, as part of the Long and Lean Legs Workout.
- The BodyRock Team workouts use the Standard Lunge. They also use variations, like the Back Lunge Kick Up. Here, you lunge backward then kick forward with the same foot. They use Back Lunge Kick ups as part of the At-Home Cardio workouts Day 4.
- The Fat Burning Workouts: At-Home Cardio Day 3 routine uses One Leg Lunges. Here, you do a lunge while supporting your other leg on a bench or other stable object. Use weights if you can, for added resistance.
- The Lady Gaga workout uses dumbbell lunges as part of her 5-Factor lower body circuit training workout.
- The Jillian Michaels workouts use side lunges as part of her HIIT, core and abs training. Jillian also uses the lunges, and side lunges exercise, for her Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.
- The Eva Longoria workout uses Alternating Lunges along with Walking Lunges.
- The Jay-Z workout and the Beyonce workout both use the Reverse Lunges and Lunges with Twist variations. When doing Lunges with a Twist, they use a medicine ball while doing twists. This incorporates your elbow and shoulder joints into the exercise.
- The Jennifer Garner workout uses the Reverse Lunges, Skater Lunges and Side Lunges exercise, when working with celebrity trainer Valerie Waters.
- The Lauren Conrad workout uses Alternating Lunges. LC likes to throw jab punches between sets, and uses 5 lb. weights to add resistance.
- The Jennifer Lawrence workout for Hunger Games uses Lateral Lunges and Walking Lunges.
- Vicki Justiz of Bikini Model Fitness uses Reverse Lunges. It is her go-to butt building exercise, and part of her famous Butt Building Workout.
Bosu Ball Lunges
For a harder alternative, you can perform the BOSU ball Lunges. This simply incorporates a BOSU ball, which makes it harder to balance your legs. (see pic above)
Dumbbell Reverse Lunges
Or, you can do perform dumbbell reverse lunges, like they do in the Long and Lean Legs Workout, or the Aaron Rodgers Quarterback Workout. Here, you simply want to reverse the lunge exercise. This will put more stress on your quads, and demand core balance from your body. Jay-Z and Beyonce workout trainer, Marco Borges, says:
Step back with your left leg and reach your arms toward the sky. Bend your right leg at the knee. Keep your back straight, and your core contracted.
Also, he says you can add dumbbells to increase resistance training. Here’s a video illustrating the Reverse Lunges exercise:
Also, Marco Borges also has his clients keep their hands in the air. This is so you’re working the shoulders and elbow joints. This keeps your upper body activated, and moving, while working your legs with the lunges exercise.
Dumbbell Lunges With a Twist
Gunnar Peterson has his celebrity clients, like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, do Dumbbell Lunges With a Twist. Marco Borges also has his celebrity clients, like Jay-Z and Beyonce, do this exercise with a medicine ball. Here, you perform:
- The normal lunge, with your feet parallel.
- Turn, so that your upper body faces all the way to one side.
- Pivot your back foot, so that it is perpendicular to your body.
- Lower yourself down, with arms outstretched over your lead leg.
- Pivot back to the center, and repeat with the other leg.
Lunges With a Kick
- The Brad Pitt Workout for Troy also uses the Lunges With a Kick exercise to focus on his core. Brad Pitt worked with trainer Gergory Joujon-Roche.
- Trainer Gregory Joujon-Roche, also uses the Lunges With a Kick exercise with Pink, Demi Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire for Spiderman, and Michael C. Hall (Dexter).
Here, you perform a lunge to the side, hence side lunges. Many celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, and Jennifer Lopez perform this exercise. Drive your body weight down into your heels and glutes. Here’s a Side Lunges Video:
- Instagram sensation Jen Selter’s workout routine also does Side lunges in her workouts.
The Rocky workout done by Sylvester Stallone uses Barbell Lunges:
Lunge Jumping Jack
Another variation is the Lunge Jumping Jack:
Try not to over-extend your legs. Focus on a 90 degree angle. It is easy to hurt your knees doing lunges if you over-extend your legs. Try not extending as far when you lunge to avoid pain.
So, when doing the Walking Lunge remember to:
- bend your knees 90 degrees for a full range of motion
- don’t step too far, or you will exert pressure on your knee
- stop if you experience pain in the knee
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