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How to Lunge

What is a lunge?

What is a lunge exercise

See all lunge variations

When you're looking to target your legs and bum, you can't beat a lunge. They're safe and easy to perform, you can do them anytime, anywhere, and they work out pretty much all the muscles in your lower body. Key muscles targeted include gluts, quads, hamstrings, calves and core.

Known as a unilateral exercise, lunges work out one side of your body at a time. This helps improve your overall stability, giving your better coordination and balance to perform everyday activities.

Another positive of training one side of your body at a time is it allows you to ensure both sides of the body are getting an equal work out, rather than letting your stronger side do more of the work. 

Lunges are particularly effective in giving your core muscles a work out as it takes some effort to remain upright as you perform the lunge. A stronger core will go some way to improving your posture and warding off lower back pain.

As the exercise targets large muscle groups, it can help give your metabolism a boost which will aid weight loss and tone up key target areas on your legs and bottom. 

Before you plunge right in and give it a go, be sure to check out our top tips and our guide to performing some of our favourite lunges. 

Lunge exercise tips

  • As you lunge forward remember to keep the weight in your heel and your knee directly above your toes.
  • Keep your back and shoulders upright as you lunge.
  • Keeping your chin up and head facing forward will help.
  • If you're new to lunges you might find it easier to start with just your bodyweight, and gradually progress to weights once you get comfortable with the movement.

Lunge variations

Forward lunge

Level: Beginners to Advanced.

Equipment: No equipment necessary. To make this exercise more challenging hold a dumbbell in each hand or use a weighted barbell.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Step forwards with one leg into a long stride and lower into a lunge, bending both knees and keeping your posture upright while ensuring your knees don’t travel over your toes.
  3. Drive through your front heel to return to standing.
  4. Repeat by stopping forward with the opposite leg into another stride.

Reverse lunges

Level: Beginners

Equipment: No equipment required but you can progress this exercise using dumbbells, a barbell or weighted plates.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, then step backwards with your right leg until your knees are at 90-degree angles - your right knee should be pointing towards the ground, your right knee should be in line with your toes.
  2. Push yourself forward to the start position and repeat with your left leg.
  3. Repeat for the required amount of reps.

Jumping lunges

Level: Intermediate

Equipment: No equipment required but you can progress this exercise using dumbbells, a barbell or weighted plates.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then jump into a lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back so your knees are at 90-degree angles - your left knee should be pointing towards the ground, your right knee should be in line with your toes. 
  2. Jump up and switch legs so your left leg is forward and right leg back and land in the lunge position. 
  3. Repeat for the required amount of reps.

   

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.