Lunges. Love 'em or love to hate 'em?
Whether you love them or hate them, the question is, WHY should we be doing them? Easy. Its all about that bass! We lunge to build an amazing backside, and in the process, we create amazing legs and a strong core.
Lunges are a compound exercise, meaning that they work multiple muscle groups -- they work the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. The great thing about lunges is that in addition to working all of the major muscle groups in the lower body, they also give your core a great workout because you use it to maintain your balance as you move through the lunge movements.
I, personally, love leg day, especially lunges because there is so much variety with lunges, allowing us to work our lower body and that booty in so many different ways. Because there are so many varieties, I never get bored of them.
Here are some of my favorite lunges to work my legs and booty from every angle to build a strong, lean look.
First things first ---- form. It's important to do lunges properly so you don't put unwanted strain on your joints. Here's how to perfect your form:
- Keep your upper body straight, shoulders back and relaxed. Stare straight in front of you and tighten your core throughout the entire exercise. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn't touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.
Now, its time to perfect those lunges. Here are my top 5 favorites:
- Curtsy Lunge - Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips. Take a big step back with your left leg, crossing it behind your right. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your right thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Keep toes angled forward. You are going to FEEL this one in your glutes!
- Side lunge (lateral lunge) - Start by standing with your feet together. Step out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90 degree angle at the right knee. Try to sit down with your butt, keeping your back as upright as possible. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side. Bonus -- try going from lateral lunge straight into a leg lift for an extra burn in your glutes.
- Walking Lunge -- I love this variation because not only does it work your entire lower body and core, it also gets your heart rate up for maximum calorie burn, especially if you hold some weights while you do the exercise. To do this exercise, step forward with one leg, reaching 90/90 with both knees. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Now, walk with it! Back foot now becomes the front foot as you walk forward, alternating front leg with each step.
- Lunge with back leg lift - The reason I love this one so much is because adding in the leg lift puts as extra focus on the glutes, as well as forcing me to balance, which uses my lower body and core even more. Doesn't hurt to work as many muscle groups as possible with each exercise! Start with feet together, step back into a back lunge. As you push back up through your heels, raise the back leg straight into the air and squeeze those glutes!
- "Tick Tock" Lunge -- I saved the best for last because its one of my personal favorites and I think its the most challenging (and you know I like a challenge!) Start with feet together. With the right leg, step forward into a front lunge (don't forget the 90/90 rule, both front and back knees at 90 degree angles to prevent injury), push off front leg, balance in the middle if possible (can tap foot if needed), then with the same leg, step back into a back lunge. This also jacks up the heart rate for maximum calorie burning!
Have fun perfecting your lunges and building your enviable backside.
Have a wonderful week!
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