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The Benefits Of Lunges And Muscles Worked

How To Do Lunges Properly and How They Benefit You

The lunge is one of the best known forms of exercise. It’s also been around for an incredibly long time.

These days, lunges are now known best as staples of all kinds of exercise routines. That’s due in large part to the benefits they can provide and how simple they are to perform.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the benefits offered by lunges and how they affect your body. I'll also break down the correct ways to perform lunges.

Let’s get started.

What Are the Benefits of Lunges? 

Similar to many other forms of exercise, lunges present people with a wide array of benefits, but there are five in particular that are worth highlighting.

1

Lunges Will Help Strengthen Your Core 

Strengthening your core is a good move not just because you’ll be able to sculpt your abs. It also presents other benefits that are going to prove very useful in different aspects of your life.


If you’re an athlete or a bodybuilder, improving your core strength is crucial because doing so will make it easier for you to perform a wide range of physical activities. Contorting your body in different directions will not be damaging if you have a strong core supporting you.


Furthermore, a strong core will also help you maintain your balance better, another benefit that should come in handy if you’re involved in any kind of athletic pursuit.


For the folks out there looking for an exercise that can effectively strengthen their core, they will want to perform more lunges.


According to Harvard Health, lunges are among the “key moves in most good core workouts.”


Everyone can benefit from having a stronger core, so make sure that you incorporate more lunges into your workout routine

2

Lunges Make Your Hips More Flexible

As you grow older, you will lose a good amount of flexibility, thus making the challenge of performing certain physical feats even greater. We’re not even talking about performing complicated stretching routines here.

Once your hips start to grow stiffer, even doing something as simple as running can become significantly harder. It’s difficult to repeat the fundamental motion featured in running if your hips are constantly seizing up.

You don’t even have to be that old to observe a noticeable drop-off in the flexibility of your hips. If you tend to sit for long stretches of time, expect your hip mobility to worsen, according to AZ Central.

Hip flexibility is something you’ll only learn to truly appreciate once you lose it, so complete more of those lunges now and preserve their mobility for as long possible.

3

Lunges Will Give You Stronger Legs

It should probably come as no surprise that lunges will benefit your legs immensely given how this particular exercise is performed.


Many of the muscles in your legs are activated whenever you execute a lunge. We’ll get into which muscles are specifically affected in a bit.

For now, it’s important to remind ourselves of what having stronger legs can help us do.

First off, strong legs grant you greater balance. Standing on one foot or a narrow pathway will be easier because even just one leg is capable of supporting your body.

You’ll also be thankful for having those strong legs if you’re thinking about getting into lifting weights or bodybuilding.


We are often advised to always lift with our legs whenever we’re dealing with a significant amount of weight and there’s a reason for that.

Strong legs are also essential if you’re planning to put on more weight. Those in-shape legs should help you carry the added weight around better.

4

Lunges Will Shape Your behind Better

It should probably come as no surprise that lunges will benefit your legs immensely given how this particular exercise is performed.


Many of the muscles in your legs are activated whenever you execute a lunge. We’ll get into which muscles are specifically affected in a bit.

For now, it’s important to remind ourselves of what having stronger legs can help us do.

First off, strong legs grant you greater balance. Standing on one foot or a narrow pathway will be easier because even just one leg is capable of supporting your body.

You’ll also be thankful for having those strong legs if you’re thinking about getting into lifting weights or bodybuilding. We are often advised to always lift with our legs whenever we’re dealing with a significant amount of weight and there’s a reason for that.

Strong legs are also essential if you’re planning to put on more weight. Those in-shape legs should help you carry the added weight around better.

5

Lunges Bring Balance to Your Workout Routine

Many people prefer to focus on their upper body while exercising. They become so fixated on building up their arms, shoulders, and chest that they forget about other parts of the body that deserve a work out.

If you only remembered that you also need to work on your lower body after already spending a long time at the gym, chances are you won’t have that much energy remaining to perform other strenuous exercises.

This is where the lunges should be able to help you out again. Lunges don’t drain your energy as much as many other lower body exercises. You can perform them at the end of your routine to get some work in for your lower body.

The Dos and Don’ts of Performing Lunges

Lunges appear to be pretty straightforward, so that means performing them should be relatively easy, right? Well, sometimes that simplicity can be deceiving.

A lunge may look to be nothing more than a big step forward followed by a dipping motion, but there’s more to it than that.


You need to get the positioning of your joints right, the stride length on point, and several other elements of the exercise can be messed up if you’re not paying attention.

In the video above, I highlight the common mistakes that people make while they are in the middle of performing lunges. Let’s learn more about those common errors so that you can avoid them during your workouts.

Common Mistake #1: Taking Short Strides 

If you’re not used to performing lunges, chances are that the muscles in your legs aren’t very flexible yet. Because of that, you may be limited in terms of how far your stride can go. To account for that, you may end up taking a shorter stride.

The problem with a shorter stride is that it places a lot of pressure on your knee. By continually performing shorter lunges, you are exposing your knees to injuries.

Common Mistake #2: Lunges Too Narrow

When performing lunges, you don’t have to step forward in a straight line. You may even want to avoid doing that if possible.

The issue with narrowing your stride like that is that it becomes more difficult to balance yourself. You will end up getting wobbly as you plant your foot on the ground.

Remember that you can step out to the side as you’re moving forward while executing a lunge. By widening your stance, you balance yourself better and you’ll avoid toppling down to the ground.

Common Mistake #3: Fail to Brace Your Abs

In order to get the most out of your lunges, you need to remember to brace your abs while you are dipping your body down. Doing that will aid in strengthening your core and it also gives the other muscles involved in the exercise a better workout.

Let’s now turn our attention to the different types of lunges you can do.

Standard Lunges 

Start the standard lunge by stepping forward with one foot. Remember to brace your abs as you’re doing this.

Make sure that the ankle and knee on the leg you have in front of you are aligned so that you have a stable base.

The shin on your back leg should also be parallel to the ground. This should be the position the back leg ends up in regardless of which lunge variation you’re performing.

Breathe out as you move up from the lunge and don’t forget to drive through your heel.

Lateral Lunges

From the standard standing position, step to the northeast direction using your right foot. Your left leg should be aligned diagonally, but it should also still be in a straight line.

As your right foot is planted on the ground, push your behind out and dip your chest slightly. Return to the standing position by driving through your right heel.

Follow those same instructions again, but lead with your other leg.

Curtsy Lunges

Assume the same starting position and then step back with your right foot. Next, move your right foot about six inches to the left and bend down to perform a curtsy.

You can take things slow to start. Step back first and then move your foot to the side. Once you get the hang of things, you should be able to perform those steps in one fluid motion.

Complete the curtsy lunges for your other leg too.

Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges are great if you’re dealing with knee issues and would like to avoid placing too much weight on that part of your body.

To complete a reverse lunge, step back with one of your legs, but don’t go too far to prevent yourself from falling over. Keep your knees, shins, and ankles aligned in the same way they would be if you were executing a standard lunge.

Stand up straight to complete the reverse lunge.

Plyometric Lunges

This time around, you should start in the lunging position with your left foot stepping forward. From there, hop up a bit and then go back into the lunging position with your right foot in front of you.

Land softly on the ground as you transition from one leg to another to prevent any unnecessary injuries.

Walking Lunges

Last up are the walking lunges and these are basically just standard lunges performed back to back using both legs. Step forward first with your right foot, move into the lunging position, get up, and then perform a lunge with your left leg.

Return to the starting position and perform the steps again.

Try out the different types of lunges described above and see which ones work best for you.

What Muscles Do Lunges Work?

As noted earlier, one of the main benefits of lunges is that they enable you to exercise parts of your body that often don’t get enough attention. If you’re trying to find an exercise that will effectively strengthen your lower body, the lunges should work for you.

However, simply saying that lunges target the lower body is too vague. It would be better to name the specific muscles that are affected whenever you’re performing lunges.

The Quadriceps

The quadriceps, which is often referred to as the quad, is a muscle that plays a crucial role in walking and running. If you rupture one of your quads, even the simple act of walking around your living room can prove to be an incredible challenge.

While you are in the correct lunging position, the quads are activated, according to Healthline. For the folks out there who are planning to participate in a marathon, don’t forget to incorporate plenty of lunges into your daily training routines. You should be able to protect yourself from injury by doing so.

The Hamstrings

Sitting for too long is not good for you. That’s true not just because you’re inactive, but also because it could be doing real damage to specific parts of your body.

According to VeryWell Fit, your hamstrings are particularly vulnerable if you have a tendency to remain seated for long stretches of time. Because of the way they are positioned inside your body, your hamstrings tend to get stretched out when you are sitting down. Keeping muscles extended for that long is never a good idea.

You need to spend more time on your feet to preserve the health of your hamstrings. Also, completing some lunges regularly should be very beneficial to those important muscles located in your lower body.

The Gluteal Muscles

Lunges are great if you want to improve the shape of your rear end. That’s because they are great for targeting the gluteal muscles.

According to Active, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus are the three muscles that make up your glutes and they have their own roles to play.

The gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are the muscles responsible for a wide range of movements related to your legs. When you’re raising your legs to the sides, you will have to call on those muscles. The same holds true when you are rotating your thighs.

Don’t overlook the gluteus maximus because it is the one that determines the curvature of your behind. There’s a reason why the folks who want to have a rounder posterior invest plenty of time in lunges.

The Calves

Working on your calves has become more popular in recent years. It’s become fashionable to boast calves seemingly carved from marble together with bulging biceps and chiseled chests. You should work on your calves, but not just because you want them to look better.

The calves play important roles in your body as well.

They are the muscles that pick your heels up off the ground, per Web MD. If you ever end up injuring your calves, even walking will become a challenge unto itself. The calf muscles are still important if you’re standing still because they help you remain balanced.

You can strengthen your calves and protect them against injury by performing lunges.

The Abdominal Muscles

Compared to the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, the abdominal muscles will not be affected as much by a set of lunges. Still, they can be involved in the workout and benefit from the work you’re putting in.

So, how can you engage your abdominal muscles during lunges when that specific type of exercise is designed to work on your lower body? Flex Addict already presented the solution earlier. In order to get the lunges to work for your abdominal muscles, you need to brace them.

Squeeze your abs as you’re moving forward with your lunge and then breathe out as you go back to your upright position. Do that repeatedly to maintain the engagement of your abs. This can work regardless of which lunge variation you decide to perform.

Don’t go thinking that lunges are not good enough to keep you in shape. The different types of lunges are ideal for simultaneously toning your legs and forming your abdominal muscles.

Conclusion

Lunges should be incorporated into every workout routine. It doesn’t matter if you already have tree trunks for legs or if you’re just starting to work on your lower extremities, the lunges are going to present you with numerous benefits.

Try to perform at least 10 lunges on each leg whenever you’re working out. That should be enough to keep them in good shape.

You can also opt to tweak your lunge exercises to make them better for the rest of your body. To accomplish that, perform lunges while using dumbbells. You can either use one dumbbell and hold it under your chin or keep two dumbbells at your sides while completing the lunges.

By adding dumbbells into the mix, the lunges are now benefiting your lower body, abs, and even your arms. As it turns out, this simple-looking exercise is one that can be helpful to your body in so many ways. 

Hope you enjoy this article, please share with your friends. Talk soon!

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