Lunges, split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the sexier exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s look at the benefits of lunges, common faults, and some popular variations to help you get those gains!
Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. As a result, lunges require and therefore help us improve leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. Choose to perform lunges as a bodyweight movement, with weight, or explosively by including a jump. So, no matter your goals training lunges is very beneficial.
Balance and Coordination
To improve balance and coordination you can train lunges with weight which increases the demand for midline stability. Do lunges with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell/kettlebell loading one side of the body. Thus, due to the stabilization and core strength required to do weighted lunges there is a huge transfer to sports and life. However, ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement and weight. As always ask a Coach if you’re unsure!
Strength and Muscle Growth
Looking to gain strength and increase muscle growth?! Do lunges that allow you to add weight! A reverse lunge works well because it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form. Do reverse lunges with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell on your back to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep the majority of the load in the front leg as you perform the movement. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor allowing the knee to kiss the ground.
Looking to prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances the Bulgarian split squat might just be the choice for you! This exercise is performed with one foot elevated off the floor. So, with the foot elevated this movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is greater for activating the glutes, #bootygainz! This variation can be completed with or without weight depending on your goals! Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.
If you want to learn more about the best training movements be sure to discuss your goals with one of our coaches!
Already a CFK member? Keep an eye out for Coach Alex’s 2021 Goals Challenge!