“You love your lunges!” is an expletive I hear from almost all my clients (secretly I think they are beginning to love them too). Here’s why I love them.
Lunges are a basic, primitive movement pattern and I believe they have a valuable place in any functional fitness program. The squat and the deadlift often overshadow the lunge, but performed correctly the lunge can be one of the most effective exercises you can use in you training. Regardless of your fitness goals – improved athletic performance, strength gains, improved aesthetics – lunges can help you get there.
There are many reasons why the lunge is a great exercise. Firstly, they require minimal space and minimal to no equipment. Lunges can be performed almost anywhere.
Lunges are a unilateral exercise (training one side of the body independent to the other); this makes them great for developing general balance and co-ordination as well as muscular balance/symmetry. Lunges allow you to see where weaknesses lie and enable you to correct these imbalances and weaknesses, balancing strength between legs.
As with most compound exercises, lunges are great for mid-line stability. Your core musculature has to work hard in order to maintain correct posture (torso upright and spine and pelvis neutral) throughout the lunge.
Another great aspect of the lunge is that it lends well to progression. You can continually challenge yourself with lunges, as there are so many different variations and progressions. Some progressions/variations include:
- Static lunges
- Reverse lunges
- Dynamic lunges
- Walking lunges
- Lunge with rotation
- Plyometric (jumping) lunges
- Bulgarian Split squat (one leg raised)
- Weighted Lunges – barbell/dumbells/kettlebells
- Overhead weighted lunges
The bottom line is this: lunges are a great exercise (when performed correctly) and have a valuable place in any fitness program.