By Kevin Dickson
US Myprotein Writer
Lunges are an often forgotten exercise, forgotten because they are so painful and tiring that people avoid them as much as possible. This article is to try and persuade you to not be one of those people, embrace the lunge and use it to better your performance.
Proper Lunge Form
Straight up lunges should be performed by stepping forward and lowering yourself until the back knee touches the ground while keeping the front knee behind the toe in a nice straight line. You can either push back up to where you started the movement or continue forward by stepping with the other leg and repeating the process to propel yourself forward.
5 Lunge Variations
Walking Lunge For Time/Distance
The first variation I would like to bring to your attention is the walking lunge for time or distance. I use this in my own training more than anything else and I include it 5-6 times a week. Pick a distance or time for example 400m or 12 minutes and lunge until you reach that goal. Ensure you maintain correct form and take little rests if you get really tired. I vary between 400-800m of continuous walking lunges and the muscular endurance in my legs has never been better. This is better than cardio for me and I highly recommend it.
Barbell Lunges are a fantastic way to not only target your legs but also strengthen your glutes. This exercise is probably one of the most effective in making you feel every rep the next day. I recommend using a weight you can comfortably squat for 20-25 reps and perform 20 reps (10 each leg) for 4-5 sets. You will be feeling this one.
Use the same form as mentioned above but push back to where you began the movement and reset, alternating legs each rep.
Reverse Lunges are exactly what you would assume, take a step back and lower the back knee to the floor, always make sure the step is big enough and your front knee doesn’t come past your toes as you descend as this can cause pain in the knee and shin. On this movement I would focus on lowering slowly and accelerating as you push back to the starting position.
Wide Angle Lunges
Wide Angle Lunges are performed by stepping forward but aiming for around a foot to the right/left while performing walking lunges; effectively you will walk in a zig-zag pattern. Imagine you are aiming for 11 or 1 on the clock face.
You need to point the toes slightly outward as you would if you were squatting this will shift the focus of the lunge and take some of the pressure off your quads and allow you to really simulate a squatting movement in an endurance setting.
Walk The Line Lunges
Walk the line lunges are again a walking lunge variation where you literally lunge in a straight line putting the next step in line with the previous step this will push the focus to the outer quad and change up the mobility and muscle tension.
Take Home Message
Although some of these variations may not work for everyone, make sure you try them all as there is definitely one here that can be added to your weekly routine. If performed correctly lunges can absolutely help to build those tree trunk legs you crave. I can guarantee you will see the benefits from adding one or more of these lunge variations.