If you don’t wanna be that guy (or gal) in the gym with a hyper-developed torso and toothpick legs, take a break. A lunge break. This fundamental movement—when performed properly—will work all of the major muscles in your lower body and improve balance.
Here’s how you get started:
*Stand at attention…or what yoga folks call “mountain pose.” (You can hold a dumbbell in each hand or start without weights.)
*Take a medium length step forward with your right leg
*Your back is straight, your abdominal muscles are tight, and if you’re holding weights, your grip is relaxed
*As your foot lands, make sure you:
1. Bear weight on your heels
2. Keep your toes pointed forward
3. Don’t allow your knee to extend past your toes
*Then, pushing off your front heel, step back to the starting position and repeat with the left leg
*Alternate until you have completed a set of 10 lunges per leg
Lunge to Go
A dynamic version on the lunge menu involves taking a walk, as in “walking lunge.” This variation begins in the same manner as the traditional lunge above but once you’ve completed that first right leg lunge, instead of returning to the upright position, you immediately step forward with your left foot into another lunge. The idea is to literally “walk” across the floor, doing lunges. Of course, your back remains straight, abs tight, relaxed grip on dumbbells, toes pointed, and knees directly over the toes. Choose a course that allows you to make an equal number of lunges in one direction and then turn around to repeat that number back to where you started.
Two More Adaptations
Those experiencing discomfort at lunge time can:
1. Utilize a slightly smaller range of motion. Lowering down halfway can often reduce pressure on the knees.
2. When doing static lunges, step your front foot onto an elevated step or small platform.
The exercise advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.
Mickey Z. is out to lunge but can be found at mickeyz.net.