Lunges: execution, benefits and muscles involved

Lunges: execution, benefits and muscles involved

How lunges are performed, what they are for and how they activate many muscles simultaneously


  • What they are and how they are performed
  • The muscles involved and the variants
  • Benefits from performing lunges

What they are and how they are performed

Also called lunges or leg lunges, lunges are bodyweight exercises that greatly strengthen the lower limbs and help find a stable position in the hips and pelvis. Generally they belong to crossfit, a discipline that corresponds to a real patented training system created by Greg Glassman in the 1970s. The whole body is involved, although most of the effort is concentrated in the legs.

But how are lunges performed? It starts from the standing position with the feet parallel to the width of the shoulders, the hands on the hips. Step forward with the right leg and bend over the knee, forming a 90 ° angle and touching the floor with the knee of the left leg. The shin must remain vertical. Be careful not to let the knee of the supporting leg go in. It is then repeated with the other leg if alternated or with the same leg for 10 or 15 repetitions and then switch to the other leg. The core remains active at all times and the knee should not go beyond the toe of the lunging leg.

The trunk should not be bent over the hips and the head should not be arched back, but the torso should remain straight and stable. Do not bring your feet together on the same line, keep the distance equal to the width of the hips, in order to maintain balance. They can be done by going forward, backward or jumping, but the technique must remain correct. Excellent solution to understand if you are doing the front lunge correctly: recover from the side or look in the mirror in the sagittal plane. You have to stretch your buttocks well, just like a sensation to look for as you lower yourself down. To recover, you must contract them in an important and decisive way. A small anteversion of the pelvis should be done when descending and you can watch the toe as it sinks, it allows you to understand if you are doing it right.

The muscles involved and the variants

This exercise is also great for beginners and does not put too much load on the knees if done correctly. If you want to increase the load, you can use tools such as the barbell on the back or dumbbells or kettlebells in the hand (they become the so-called weighted lunge). There is also the Lunge Walk variant where you go to solicit, in addition to the buttocks and quadriceps: once the position is reached, the feet are brought closer and the same movement is repeated with the other leg to stimulate the quadriceps, hamstring and buttocks. In summary, you go from length to length being sure to have free frontal space. If the lunge is performed deeply, the muscles are fully activated.

All the muscles of the posterior leg are also very stressed. If, on the other hand, you want to develop the back of the buttocks and legs, the Bulgarian lunges are optimal: they are performed using a bench or a low stool on which the tip of the foot of the rear leg rests. The quadriceps are also heavily stressed and the challenge of muscle stability increases.

If you want to work the muscles of the inner thigh in an important way, side lunges are excellent. From the standing position and the legs apart, the back straight and the feet parallel, with the sole of the foot adhering to the ground, you take a big step to the side with the left leg always keeping the torso straight and lower yourself until the knee of the right leg is not bent about 90 °. Then the body is pushed up again with the left foot, and then returns to the starting position. The hips must be lowered well, the back remains straight and the abdomen active, as in a squat, to be sure not to put all the weight on the knee. You can do 15 repetitions per leg or alternate by pushing well from the feet and contracting the gluteal area.

Finally, in general, we remind you that, in addition to the buttocks and thigh muscles, the stabilizing muscles of the ankle are also strongly stressed by this type of exercise and these are fundamental muscles for the well-being of the foot and for a correct step and overall posture.

Benefits from performing lunges

The leg muscles also need to be activated and stimulated often in order to enjoy good circulation and avoid water retention problems. If you often stand up – for example at work – you risk swelling and heaviness and it becomes very important to find at least 2 or 3 weekly workouts in which to dedicate yourself to the legs. It strengthens and tones the entire gluteal area and quadriceps.

This exercise improves all the flexibility and balance and general of the body, as well as allowing you to burn a lot of calories and therefore lose weight. A full-fledged multi-joint exercise that guarantees total body work and an improvement in overall strength. For those unfamiliar with the exercise it is worth starting with 10 repetitions per leg and then increasing the repetitions. If you want to lose weight in a short time, once you have understood the execution, the lunges can be accompanied by cardiovascular exercises (the so-called cardio workouts) or by HIIT training (also known as High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or workouts that include the alternation between periods of short and intense anaerobic exercise with periods of active recovery based on less intense aerobic activity to be carried out consecutively on the same exercise.

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