11 Benefits of Doing Lunges Regularly

fitness
woman doing a lunge

Lunges are a popular strength training exercise among people wanting to strengthen, sculpt, and tone their bodies, while also improving overall fitness and enhancing athletic performance.

This resistance exercise is popular for its ability to strengthen your back, hips, and legs, while improving mobility and stability. Lunges are ideal for those wishing to get stronger and for current athletes, including runners and cyclists.

Continue reading to take a look at the benefits of lunges along with what muscles they target and a few variation options.

Benefits of performing lunges

1. Weight loss

Lunges work the large muscle groups in your lower body, which builds leans muscle and reduces body fat. This can increase your resting metabolism, which allows you to burn more calories and trim excess weight.

If you’re looking to lose weight, push yourself to your outer limits by including lunges in a high-intensity circuit training routine using heavy weights.

2. Balance and stability

Lunges are a lower body unilateral exercise since you work on each side of your body independently. The single-leg movements activate your stabilizing muscles to develop balance, coordination, and stability.

Working one leg at a time causes your body to be less stable, which forces your spine and core to work harder to stay balanced.

3. Alignment and symmetry

Lunges are better than bilateral exercises for rehabilitation since they can correct imbalances and misalignments in your body to make it more symmetrical.

If you have one side that’s less strong or flexible, spend a bit of extra time working on this side so you don’t overcompensate or overuse the dominant side.

4. Stand taller

Lunges strengthen your back and core muscles without putting too much stress or strain on your spine. A strong, stable core reduces your chance of injury and improves your posture, making common movements easier.

Benefits by type of lunge

5. Stationary lunges

Stationary lunges target your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. You’ll put most of your weight on your front leg and use your back leg to balance, stabilize, and support your entire body.

You’ll want to get the form down since stationary lunges are the foundation for all the lunge variations.

6. Side lunges

Lateral lunges develop balance, stability, and strength. They work your inner and outer thighs and may even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Side lunges train your body to move side to side, which is a nice change from your body’s normal forward or twisting movements. Plus, side lunges target your quadriceps, hips, and legs at a slightly different angle, thus working them a little differently.

Pay attention to the outsides of your legs and work on activating these muscles as you do these lunges.

7. Walking lunges

To do walking lunges, you’ll need balance and coordination. The walking variation targets your core, hips, and glutes, and improves overall stability. They also increase your range of motion and help to improve your functional everyday movements.

To make walking lunges more difficult, add weights or a torso twist.

8. Reverse lunges

Reverse lunges activate your core, glutes, and hamstrings. They put less stress on your joints and give you a bit more stability in your front leg. This is ideal for people who have knee concerns, difficulty balancing, or less hip mobility.

Reverse lunges allow you to be more balanced as you move backward, changing up the direction from most of your movements and training your muscles to work differently.

9. Twist lunges

You can add a twist to stationary, walking, or reverse lunges to activate your core and glutes more deeply. Twisting lunges also require balance and stability as you twist your torso away from your lower body while maintaining the alignment of your knees.

You’ll also activate the muscles in your ankles and feet.

10. Curtsy lunge

Curtsy lunges are great for strengthening and toning your derrière, which is excellent for your posture. Strong glutes also prevent and relieve back and knee pain, all of which help to improve your athletic performance and lower your risk of injury.

Curtsy lunges also sculpt and strengthen your hip adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings as well as improve hip stabilization. Use a kettlebell or dumbbell to up the intensity of this variation.

11. Lunges and squats

Lunges and squats both work your lower body and are a valuable addition to your fitness regime. You may favor lunges if you have low back pain since they’re less likely to strain your back. Consider focusing on squats if you feel more stable in this position.

Since this pair of exercises will work your body in similar ways, it’s a matter of personal preference to see if either exercise feels better for your body or brings you the best results. Of course, adding both lunges and squats to your routine is beneficial.

Muscles worked 

Lunges increase muscle mass to build up strength and tone your body, especially your core, butt, and legs. Improving your appearance isn’t the main benefit of shaping up your body, as you’ll also improve your posture and range of motion.

Lunges target the following muscles:

  • abdominals
  • back muscles
  • gluteal muscles
  • quadriceps
  • hamstrings
  • calves

How to get results 

Lunges are simple, making them accessible to people who want to add them to part of a longer routine or do them for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. You must stay on track and be consistent to maintain your results over time.

If you do lunges regularly as part of a larger fitness routine, you’ll notice results in terms of building muscle mass and shaping up your body. You’ll likely feel the results before they are visible.

You may develop tight, toned, and stronger muscles and start to lower your body fat percentage within a few weeks. More noticeable results may take a few months to develop.

For each lunge variation, do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. If you feel yourself starting to plateau, up the intensity by doing more difficult variations, adding weights, or increasing the amount you do.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/

5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

There’s a saying that if you’re new to lifting weights, any program will make you stronger. While it’s true that “newbie gains” can be attained doing just about anything, experienced lifters will often tell you that in hindsight, they wish they’d known what they know now when they first started lifting.

There are a handful of common mistakes fitness novices make all too often when starting a training routine. Rather than accepting that anything will work, it’s best to learn the basic principles of strength training so you can ride out the progress of your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Here are five mistakes to avoid and how to fix them:

Beginners are often introduced to strength training through body-part splits, which are exercise routines that dedicate an entire day to a specific muscle group. For example:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms
Saturday and Sunday: Rest

While this may be effective for experienced bodybuilders, for beginners it’s like drinking water through a fire hose and here’s why.

Beginners need to learn how perform basic exercises like squats, pushups and deadlifts. These exercises take lots of practice, and you don’t get good at anything by only practicing it once a week. Second, beginners rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that smash a single body part with so many sets and reps that your muscles feel like they’ve been put through a meat grinder.

Beginners are better off with either three full-body workouts per week or four workouts that are split between upper- and lower-body. For example:

3-DAY FULL-BODY WORKOUT

Monday: Full body
Tuesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Wednesday: Full body
Thursday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Friday: Full body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body
Wednesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Thursday: Upper body
Friday: Lower body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

Beginners are often encouraged to use machines because they’re easier to learn than free weights. While this may be true, free weights build more strength and coordination in the long run.

It’s best to learn proper technique with free weight exercises while you’re still in a novice stage. That way, as you get stronger, your technique will be on point, and you’ll be less prone to injury. A strong lifter with lousy technique is like a racecar with no brakes, so get your brakes tuned up early on to set yourself up for a lifetime of safe workouts.

You can still use free weights and machines (because they’re both awesome), but if you’re new to working out, trade these common machine exercises for their free weight equivalents:


READ MORE > SHOULD YOU LIFE WEIGHTS TO FAILURE?


Many beginners avoid using a full range of motion during some exercises because they either haven’t been taught proper form or they heard some old wives’ tale that an exercise is dangerous. Examples of such myths include:

  • Deep squats are bad for your knees.
  • Touching the bar to your chest on the bench press is bad for your shoulders.
  • Locking out your joints keeps the stress on your muscles.

These myths are born from dogma and misinformation. They’re often spread by people who haven’t learned proper technique or have hurt themselves by using poor form.

In reality, research shows that proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion results in more muscle and strength gains than using partial range of motion. So the next time you’re tempted to cut a rep short, remember that full range gets better results and is perfectly safe if you use proper form.

A “no pain, no gain” approach to lifting weights might sound cool in theory, but doing too many sets to failure may be holding you back. Overzealous lifters often like to take every set of every exercise to the point where they can’t complete the final rep, but turns out you can make the same gains with far less pain.

A 2016 review in the Journal of Sports Medicine tells us that non-failure training results in slightly more gains in strength and muscle than failure training. After looking at eight studies, it appears that you don’t have to go to failure, although you have to do a few more sets to make up the difference. This is important because stopping each set shy of failure means you’re less likely to use improper form, reducing the likelihood of injury.

The takeaway? Stop most of your sets at least 1–2 reps shy of failure. The heavier and more complicated the exercise (i.e., heavy barbell deadlifts), the further you should stay from failure, while lighter single-joint exercises (i.e., dumbbell biceps curls) can be trained to failure with less risk.

As the saying goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Heading into the gym without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map (or a GPS, for the youngsters who don’t remember maps). Sure, you may get somewhere interesting, but you’re more likely to get to your destination with a specific route to follow.

Rather than flying by the seat of your pants, find a tried-and-true workout program that suits your goals. There are plenty of them right here on MyFitnessPal, including:

While a premade program may not be tailored exactly to you, it keeps you accountable and on track toward a more specific goal than just “getting a workout in.”

Smarter, Not Harder

Just like any new endeavor, you don’t need to know everything about lifting weight to be successful. But a little knowledge goes a long way in helping you get stronger, so avoid these five common mistakes to ride out your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Source: by Tony Bonvechio

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