When you think of the term "lunge," you might associate it with an aggressive stride forward, not unlike someone fencing with a sword. In actuality, the move is more like a kneel. Perhaps the name "lunge" is misleading, but somehow the "Step-Forward-Or-Backward-or-Sideways-And-Drop-Down" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Regardless of what it's called, when done properly, a good lunge hits the front of your thighs, butt and hamstrings with amazing balance. A lateral lunge can really hit the inner thighs and hip region, and a skater lunge will make your glutes hurt for days. And the lunge is incredibly versatile. Some clients who have knee issues struggle with a forward lunge, but have no problem doing a reverse lunge!
Below you'll find directions on how to do lunges - specifically the walking lunge, reverse lunge, skater lunge and lateral lunge - properly for the best results. Try adding a different one to your exercise program each week!
Start by standing upright, feet together, holding two dumbbells at your sides (optional).
Take a large controlled step forward with your right leg and lower your hips toward the floor as you bend both knees (almost at 90-degree angles). The back knee should come close to (but never actually touch) the ground.
Your front knee should be directly over the ankle and the back knee should be pointing straight down.
Push off with your left foot and bring it forward to the starting standing position. Next, step forward and repeat with the left leg and alternate.
Start by standing upright, feet together, and take a controlled large step backward with your left foot.
Lower your hips so that your front leg is parallel to the floor and your right knee is directly over your ankle.
Keep your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor. Keep your back straight, looking straight ahead.
When your left knee is almost (but not actually) touching the floor, push with your left foot to return your left leg back to starting standing position. Complete 10 reps on one side before switching to your other side.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step your right foot behind your left leg and bend both knees to lower into a lunge, with your right knee behind your left heel.
Press through your left heel and bring your right foot back to starting position. That's one rep; repeat on the other side and continue alternating.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips.
Take a big step to the side with your left leg, then push your hips back, bend your left knee and lower your body until your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Keep your back upright.
Pushing through your heels (rather than your toes and knees), step back to start. That's one rep. Do 10 on one side before you switch to the other side and do 10 more.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lower body exercises. Many of them are effective, some of them look cool and a few are just plain dangerous (when done improperly). Use the instructions above to ensure you're doing lunges correctly with proper form and you'll begin to see (and feel) results!