After the venerable squat, the lunge just may be the most popular leg exercise of all. This time-tested unilateral movement can help increase leg strength and flexibility. The lunge is versatile. Add motion with a medicine ball and the benefits multiply exponentially, working core muscles and improving balance.
Step 1: Start with a good stance: Spine tall, shoulders held back and down, core engaged and feet planted firmly. In addition, loosely hold a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand with arms at sides, or hold a medium-weight medicine ball at chest height with arms almost fully extended.
Step 2: Take a longer-than-usual step with the right leg, bending both knees. When right thigh is parallel to the floor, push off the right heel and step forward with the left leg. Continue “walking” until an equal number of steps are performed, then turn around to lunge walk back to the starting point.
*To twist: Step and hold the lunge position with the right leg, then rotate the torso and the medicine ball to the right—using the core muscles as the primary mover. Return the ball back to center and step into the next lunge with the opposite leg, rotating the ball to the left. By performing lunges in motion with the added component of a medicine ball twist, overall symmetry and balance are enhanced while the core and upper body are exercised.
• Bear weight on the front heel when pushing off
• Always keep toes pointed forward
• Don’t allow the front knee to extend past toes
The advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.
The first medicine balls were bladders filled with sand used by Persian wrestlers some 3,000 years ago.