The Lunge is a popluar, long-standing and simple but very effective exercise for the legs. It involves balance and coordination, which is very useful for sports as well as muscle development. The dumbell version of the Lunge is the easiest to start with though it can also be done with a barbell.
Tips: Don't keep your legs in a straight line. Keep them horizontally separated by about six inches to keep your balance. Doing this increases support, stablizing your body. Don't lean forward on the way down - this can cause you to lose your balance and can place unnecessary stress on your back.
Muscles: Upper thigh and buttocks; Hip extensors, quadriceps
How to perform The Lunge Exercise:
- Place barbell on back as in squatting, or use dumbbells at arms length by hips.
- Step forward with leg about 30 inches. Keep front foot flat on the floor, rear foot balanced on toes, and lower the front thigh until parallel to the floor. Push back leg to starting position. Alternate legs.
- Do as many reps as you can in 2 minutes with the right leg (about 10 to 20), then repeat with the left leg.
Remember: Go Low!
People who focus on nailing range of motion during squats and lunges - which means a 90-degree bend in the knees - became stronger and lost an average of 15 percent more fat than those who added extra weight but shortened the movement. There was a metabolism benefit, too. Those who got to 90-degrees retained more lean muscle mass after a month-long hiatus. Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
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