Lunges are a tremendously worthwhile exercise. Effectively giving each leg a targetted amount of stimulation and stress, this exercise will develop your strength, stamina and endurance as well as a well-shaped, muscular and functionally powerful pair of legs. In addition to developing your thighs, your ankles, calves, knee stability, and those all-important hamstrings and glutes also receive a great workout, even without the use of weights for resistance – what’s not to like? Read on for these Top 5 Benefits of Lunges!
1. Core stability
Doing lunges with proper technique will mean you’re engaging your abdominal muscles as well as your hip-flexors. This builds your core strength and helps alleviate any back-pain whilst improving balance and posture at the same time.
Standing tall and keeping your spine upright, take a large step, bending at the knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor, or when your leg is at a right angle. Drive into your heel and step back into your starting position.
Where exercises such as deadlifts and squats are great for strength and muscle growth, nothing beats lunges as a method to improve balance. Working each leg independently means that you’ll be improving your balance and coordination which can’t be trained whilst you’re doing conventional both-legged squats.
Everybody has a ‘dominant’ side that they prefer to use and train on. However, by doing lunges you’re helping to focus on the weaker side and bring it up to par with your stronger leg. Working both legs individually and equally means that you’ll be ironing out those annoying muscle imbalances!
Leading a sedentary lifestyle means that your hip flexors will usually be chronically tight. Lunges aren’t the definitive way of sorting out the tightness (for that, you’ll definitely want to target your hamstrings, see our article) but it’s a good start and an easy addition to your training routine. It also means that you’ll become more functional in everyday life too.
You don’t need weights to make lunges effective necessarily. You can of course, move up to kettlebell lunges once you’re confident doing them with your own bodyweight. Lunges not only give you a great workout with little (or no) use of extra weight but, they’ll also take some pressure off your spine. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench pressing load a tremendous amount of pressure on your spine so give it some well-needed rest with some lunges on leg-day.