The lunge is a functional lower-body bodyweight exercise that primarily targets your quads. Just like the squat, lunges are extremely effective for building lower body strength and the exercise will also activate your glutes, hamstrings and core.
Follow these six steps to ensure you’re using proper form while performing lunges. Good form is essential to your workout routine not only because it makes the exercise more effective, but also because it will help you to avoid injury.
-How to Do a Lunge-
1. Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, that your core is tight (draw your bellybutton into your spine) and that your spine is straight (keep your shoulders relaxed and draw your shoulder blades back and down). Look straight ahead to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine.
2. You can keep your hands at your side or put them on your hips. Wherever you choose to place them, just make sure that the position is comfortable for you.
3. When you’re ready, take a big step forward with your left foot, allow a slight bend in your right knee as you move forward. Pay attention to your posture. Maintain a straight spine by keeping your core tight, your shoulder back and down and your gaze straight ahead. (Note: Pay attention to your body and the limit of your range of motion. You may not be able to achieve the full range of motion right away, but the goal is to eventually lunge low enough so that both of your knees form 90-degree angles and the thigh of your forward leg is parallel to the floor.)
4. For the final segment of the movement, while maintaining a straight spine, lower your right knee down towards the ground so that your front (left) knee forms a 90-degree angle and your right (back) knee is hovering just above the ground. Always make sure that your forward foot is planted firmly on the ground at that your forward knee always remains in line with your ankle. (Never let your knee fall forward in front of your foot.)
5. Pause for a moment in the lunge position before you push through your left (front) foot to slowly return to the starting position. (This should be one fluid motion.)
6. You can choose to alternate between lunging left and right or first perform a number of repetitions leading with your left leg before you switch to your right. Repeat the motion for as many repetitions as you can without compromising your form. (Just like with any other exercise, five perfect lunges are much better and way more effective than 10 performed poorly.)
Add this exercise to your regular workout routine to build functional lower-body and core strength. If you were able to do 10 the first time, aim for 11 or more during your next workout and continue progressing from there.
Related: Strength Training 101
To make the exercise less difficult, first try performing it in a stationary position. Instead of returning to the full starting position in between lunges, simply take one step forward and then flex and bend your back knee to lower yourself up and down in the lunge position.
Thanks to Body Space Fitness in New York City for sharing their exercise space with us.