The fact is that squats are the best exercise for the development of lower body muscles. But what if you can’t or do not want to do squats? Well, you should definitely try lunges.
When done correctly, lunges target the same muscle groups as squats. (quads, glutes abductors, and educators). We will tell you what the best way to perform lunges to get the best results is.
One more reason for you to do lunges is that you will work out both legs equally. As soon as you start doing them, you will realize one leg is stronger and more flexible than the other.
Lunges will help you to even out this difference and make both legs equally strong and flexible. Also, you will enhance your balance, which is essential in lifting heavy weights.
Another good thing with lunges is that you can do them anywhere with no fitness equipment at all. There are many variations of luges such as lunges with a bar, lunges with dumbbells walking lunges with dumbbells, or walking lunges without any additional weights.
Lunges With A Bar
Lunges with a bar are the most common type of lunges that people do. It is designed for those athletes that want to introduce some variety in their leg workout.
Some people swap squats for lunges on those days when they want to do a light leg workout. For the start take the bar and grip it, so the hands are a bit closer. The body should be entirely tensed.
Feet are spread in the width of the shoulders and kept parallel on the floor. Take a long step forward. In the lower position, the knee of the front long should be above the toes or a bit in front of them.
The foot of the back leg should be facing toes to the front, not to the side, while the entire back leg is almost fully straight. This is difficult, and for many of you might take time to develop the needed flexibility.
Focus on the straight position of the back leg. The depth of the lunge should be such that even tho the rear leg is almost fully straight, it touches the floor.
What is very important is to keep the feet in the width of the shoulders at all times. If you get the feet in the same line, you will lose your balance.
Go back to the starting position with one smooth move. It is crucial to keep the body straight and stable while you are going back to the starting position. If that is not the case, you might sustain injuries to the lower part of your back.
Many people rush with repetitions forgetting to pay attention to the details. It would be good if you would pause between each repetition to focus on the next repetition.
Sets And Repetitions
You should start with four sets of four repetitions per leg regardless of you are doing lunges as a part of your workout or just swapping them with squats.
Start with using just an Olympic bar to get the feel of it. When you get the hang of the motion, and the correct posture, start adding weight to the bar.
Lunges can be an excellent exercise for strength, but only if you do them a bit more aggressively and with heavier weights. Athletes that are working on strength in this exercise have to use heavy weights. For men, the optimal weight is 100kg for women 65kg with four repetitions per leg.
Of course, to get to the point when you can do lunges with weights this heavy, it will take you a few months. Bodybuilders should do this exercise by the principal heavy-medium-light.
On those days, when they are doing a heavy workout, they should have five sets of four repetitions per leg. During the medium workout days, they should do three sets of four repetitions per leg and then two sets of two repetitions per leg.
During the light training days, they should do four sets of six repetitions per leg. In the last set of the medium day workout, they should use the weight heavier than the one used on a heavy day. This is a good way to help increase the weight gradually.
If you feel uncomfortable holding the bar on your back, you can always perform the lunges with dumbbells. Everything remains the same; the only difference is that the weights are in your hands.
Walking lunges are a fantastic exercise, even if you are not using any weights. You can also do them as a preparation for lunges with weights.
During this exercise, all the rules remain the same as for the lunges with a bar. The only difference is that now you are constantly moving, and you need a lot more concentration to do the exercise correctly.
What is very important for this variation of lunges is to keep the body straight. When you get tired, pause a little, and then continue for as long as you can perform the exercise correctly.
The moment the walking lunges become to easy for you to do add the weights. If you are doing this exercise at home and you do not have dumbbells, you can use anything heavy that is comfortable to hold.
There is a possibility that you are satisfied with the strength and the looks of your legs, and you are not doing lunges at all. Give them a chance. There is nothing to lose, and so much to gain.
If you feel the pain in the leg muscles after trying the lunges for the first time, maybe it is time to include them in your training program.
Lunges are a great exercise to build up your glutes and quads. What would be best is to do them alongside squats and cardio, for example, using a stepper or a treadmill, which are great for your legs.
With a healthy diet and a good training program, the results will come faster than you think all you have to do is persist.