The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Lunges

I continue my favourite top 10 weight exercises.  I have been giving my opinion on some of the best weight exercises that I feel should be  part of a gym staple for years to come.

The purpose here is to show the benefit of having a good foundation, like old friends these exercises are something you can rely on to deliver the goods.

This week is Number 7:

Lunges

What it works:

Quads (and legs in general)

 

lunges

Image from Bodybuilding.com

Why do it?

Where do I start with the lunge?  For me the lunge is a bit like an Bent-over row, something I have hated over the years and avoided doing because it never felt right, but recently have developed an appreciation for it’s purpose.

Personally there is a great versatility to the lunge – it is challenging for the beginner purely as a body weight exercise (and is seen in many beginners workout plans).  But then it can be made harder with weights.

It also has the appeal for both genders – women who may not be athletic can appreciate it for the shapeliness it gives to the lower body.

The trick with the lunge is to build up that technique and you will feel all the muscles in your legs working.  To start with you might not be able step out far and lower down too much.  But as you get better you will be stepping out wider with your leading leg, while the back leg is bending so that it is hovering slightly over the floor.

This is why it is important to not go too heavy too quickly.

 

 

lunge2

 

Variations:

Once you are comfortable with body weight use some dumbbells at the side or alternatively with a bar.  The bar I find much harder – a greater range of balance is needed, therefore when I use the bar I always do it a bit lighter than I would with dumbbells.

Another great variation for balance is a lunge on a bench.  Hold the lunge position and use the leading leg to dip down – because you are not going back up to standing position this will burn!

lunge

See this Youtube video to understanding how it works on the bench

Other variations are in the range of motion.  Traditionally the lunge is a step forward, but there are also alternatives where a step back is made.

Result:

Enjoy the additional strength it gives in your legs.  Personally I feel that the lunge is good exercise to do once or twice a week to prevent injury in sports that are leg intensive with ground impact (endurance running, tennis…)

Beginners advice:

  • Don’t go too heavy too quickly – aim for getting the range of motion correct before upping the weight
  • The lunges are a great exercise to compliment anyone training for any distance running
  • Keep your body straight when doing the lunge – avoid leaning in.  The best way to avoid doing this is by putting your hands on your hips, pointing your chest out like Superman and focus on keep your body in the same position as you lower down

What is your favourite weight exercise?  Why?  Drop a comment below and let me know – I might even end up quoting you.

References: 

I have been doing these exercises for so long that it isn’t always easy for me to explain.  Thanks to the following sites who helped me write this:

 

Bodybuilding.com – Dumbbell Lunges Exercise

Bodybuilding.com – The 1 Exercise you should never do and 5 you should do all the time!

Shape – Know your basics: How to do a lunge

Popsugar – Learn to love lunges

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified personal trainer, I am just giving my opinion on what I think are the best things to do at the gym.  Note I do not advise how many repetitions to do – that is up to you and what you want to achieve.

You should always take into consideration your limitations and medical history.  Before starting a workout routine always seek advice from an expert.


The Top Ten:

10: Bent-over row

9: Side Raises

8: Push Press

  1. Lunges
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7 thoughts on “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Lunges

  1. Hey James thanks for the reminder i forgot to do this for a while. Lunges i like them for the stretch and for the leg strenghting.

    Great post.
    Enjoying the long weekend.
    Have a great week regards Bella

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