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What Muscles Work When You Lunge

What's Working When You Lunge

Techniques and Muscles Worked On By Lunges. 

Let’s take a deep dive on which muscles get worked on and the variations you might want to consider to get the most out of your lunge routine. If by the end of this article you still don’t feel the nudge to do them. I would recommend still powering through because lunges a re a functional movement every healthy body should be able to do.

Other than being relatively easy to perform. This remarkable move works many of the muscles in your lower body in just a single exercise. It can be beneficial as a fundamental strength program exercise, in injury prevention and rehabilitation after injury.

When performing a lunge a myriad of muscles in your lower body come together to stabilize and mobilize the body. These include:

  • The obliques
  • The multifidus
  • The erector spinae
  • The transverse abdominis 
  • The hamstrings 
  • The gluteals  
  • The quadriceps 
  • The calves 

These muscles, especially the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Work eccentrically(lengthening) and concentrically(shortening) while you perform the lunge. 

In the eccentric phase of this exercise, your leg will be in control of your foot’s landing. Followed by you, lowering your body to the ground further. As you try to control the descent, your muscles are lengthening under tension to control the movement. The quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes work together to decelerate your landing. However, the front leg gets extra work done to your hamstrings and glute while performing this movement.

As you retreat from the lunge and into the upright position. Your muscles are forced to contract . Making the concentric phase of this movement. Pushing you back to the starting position. However when it comes to hypertrophy and muscle size. The eccentric movement is more effective than the concentric.


Variations on Lunges and Which Suits You Most.

Static/Stationary Lunge

Also known as the split squat, is perfect if you have knee pain or when beginning lunging exercises. It works the lateral and medial quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Similar to the forward lunge.

Back/Reverse Lunge

This variation puts less strain to your joints and provides more stability to the front leg. If you have difficulty balancing, knee issues or limited hip mobility, this is perfect for you. It works your core, glutes, and hamstrings.

Side/Lateral Lunge

This variation will involve you stepping to the side instead of forward and back. Activating the inside groin muscles, hips, and the medial quadriceps. Working on them at a different angle helps you improve balance, stability, and strength.

Walking Lunges

This variation can be done while walking forward or backward. Working the gluteal muscles, medial quadriceps, core, hips, and hamstrings. It does however require a lot of balance and coordination. Improving overall stability and increasing range of motion.

Twist Lunges

This variation can be added onto whichever lunge you’re doing to add a little zing to it. It activates your core and glutes more intensely. Twisting lunges also require balance and stability as you twist your torso away from your lower body while maintaining the alignment of your knees.

Curtsey Lunge

Focused on strengthening your glutes. They can be such a great way to relieve back and knee pain. Additionally they strengthen and sculpt your hip adductors, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Assisted Lunge

This variation involves using a stationary object for balance and not having to worry about tipping on one side.

Half Lunge

Is going all the way down a little difficult? This variation involves a smaller range of motion. Lowering down only half as far or to where you feel comfortable. Relieving some stress from your joints.

Front Foot Elevated Lunge

When the regular lunge is causing knee aches. You can try placing your front foot on a platform. Then proceeding with the forward lunge.

Rear Leg Elevated

By raising the back leg, more emphasis is put on the quadriceps muscles of the back leg. Giving more resistance to your lunge and more activation.

Adding a little more intensity to your lunge routine can be something you need over time. Using dumbbells and barbells or trying the sliding lunge for more core action might be the way to go. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves however. This journey on how to lunge is a marathon and not a sprint. I hope you'll consider this exercise in your next routine.

Remember to modify as needed. Do the variations that feel challenging and safe for you. I suggest you do them 4x a week as long as your body is responding positively to it.

Don't forget to stretch! It's important to keep your flexibility as you begin to strengthen.


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