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9 benefits of lunges you should know

Lunges are one of the most effective strength training exercises that can help with weight loss, boost strength, and much more. Know 9 benefits of lunges.

If you aim to have well-defined buttocks and strong legs, you just cannot afford to neglect lunges. You may think that running, sprinting, or climbing may help build up your leg muscles, but unfortunately, all these physical activities can only help you get leaner. For gaining muscle mass in your legs and strengthening your lower body, lunges are a great functional exercise that can help. It targets your glutes, thighs, quarts, and calves and stimulates your core. Not only in strengthening your lower body but lunges can also be a part of your weight loss routine. What’s more? The benefits of lunges also include boosting flexibility and range of motion and improving posture and balance.

Benefits of lunges

Here are 9 lunges benefits that you should know:

1. Helps with weight loss

For those striving to shed kilos, lunges engage multiple large muscle groups and increase heart rate, boosting calorie burning and fat loss. This dynamic exercise targets muscles in the lower body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, which increases metabolic rate. Notably, lunges not only burn calories during exercise but also keep your metabolism elevated even when you are resting. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health includes lunges as a weight loss exercise.

Also read: Squats vs lunges: Which exercise is better for weight loss?

2. Better balance

Lunges improve balance and coordination which helps correct body posture and alignment. This is crucial for daily activities and becomes increasingly important as we age. Regular practice of lunges can significantly improve balance by strengthening muscles around the ankles, knees, and hips, thereby reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

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walking lunges
Perform lunges can improve posture and balance. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Increases muscle mass

Lunges are renowned for sculpting legs and glutes, making them a perfect exercise to build muscle mass and maintain bone density. Lunges also stimulate muscle growth and strength by targeting major lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. You may notice a positive change in your muscle size with regular practice.

4. Strengthens leg and glute muscles

One of the primary benefits of lunges is that they help strengthen the legs and butt muscles. This body resistance exercise effectively strengthens these muscle groups with its functional movement patterns, which include walking, bending, and climbing stairs. Stronger legs and glutes reduce the risk of injuries during physical activities.

Also read: Don’t neglect that butt! Perform these 5 glute exercises right at home

5. Activates core

Lunges are not just about the legs, they engage the core muscles as well. The core needs to be stabilised while performing lunge exercises in order to maintain proper form. As a result, your abdominal muscles will tighten, thereby supporting and strengthening your core. Strengthening the core muscles also supports spinal alignment and reduces the risk of lower back pain.

6. Boosts hip flexibility

Flexibility in the hips is essential for maintaining mobility and preventing injuries, especially with physical activities involving running, squatting, or even sitting. As you lunge forward, you stretch your hip flexors, which helps increase the flexibility and range of motion of your hip joint. This helps reduce stiffness, tightness, and discomfort, enhancing hip flexibility.

hip pain
Lunges exercises help tone and strengthen your butt. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Improves posture

Poor posture is a common issue among people due to by sedentary lifestyles and weak muscles and bones. Lunges can help increase your range of motion by helping to increase flexibility and loosen up your hips and hamstrings. This can help improve posture and balance. Moreover, lunges help improve spinal alignment, which can correct poor posture and balance.

8. Good for cardiovascular health

While lunges primarily target muscle strength, they also provide cardiovascular benefits. Incorporating them into high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can elevate heart rate and improve cardiovascular endurance. Better heart health can reduce the risk of other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

9. Prevents spinal issues

The benefits of lunges extend beyond muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness to spinal health. Proper form during lunges promotes spinal alignment and stability, which helps prevent spinal issues such as chronic lower back pain. This exercise can support natural spinal alignment and reduce strain caused by poor posture and sedentary habits.

How to perform lunges?

Follow these 6 simple steps to perform lunges regularly:

  • Start standing tall with feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a step forward with one leg, keeping the spine straight and the shoulders relaxed.
  • Lower your body until both knees form a 90-degree angle and keep your hands on your waist.
  • Push through the heel of the front foot to return to the starting position.
    Repeat on the other leg.
  • Aim for three to four sets of 15-20 repetitions per leg.

Note: You can also hold dumbbells in your hands while performing lunges.

lunges
Add lunges to your HIIT workout for fitness! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Mistakes to avoid with lunges

To gain all the benefits and prevent injury, you need to avoid these 3 mistakes while performing lunges:

1. Overextending the front knee: Ensure the front knee does not extend past the toes. Otherwise, it may cause excessive strain on the knee joint.
2. Incorrect posture: Improper posture can result in injuries. Maintain an upright torso with shoulders, back, and core engaged to avoid straining the lower back, knee, or glute muscles.
3. Forgetting to breathe: Do not hold your breath during the movement. It can increase physical strain and reduce your oxygen supply, which can impair your performance.

Variations of lunges

Here are 5 most common but different ways to perform lunges:

1. Reverse lunges

  • Step backward with one leg and lower until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
  • Maintain good posture, keep your core engages, and then push through the front heel to return.

2. Walking lunges

  • Step forward with one leg and lower into a lunge position.
  • Now, push through the front heel to stand up and step forward with the other leg, and repeat.

Also read: Walking lunges: Know how to do it correctly and its 6 benefits

3. Dumbbell lunges

  • Hold dumbbells at your sides in both hands.
  • Step forward with the right leg and lower into the lunge position.
  • Push through the heel to return to standing and alternate legs.
how to do walking lunges
Lunges with weight ia great way to strengthen your legs. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Side lunges

  • Step to the side with one leg.
  • Bend that knee while keeping the other leg straight.
  • Return to the standing position by pushing through the heel.

5. Jumping lunges

  • Start in a lunge position and then jump explosively.
  • Switch legs mid-air, landing in a lunge with the opposite leg forward, and repeat.

Who should avoid lunges?

Although lunges are one of the safest strength training exercises, some people should avoid or perform them in the presence of an instructor. This includes:

  • People with knee issues such as arthritis or recent injuries. Performing this exercise may exacerbate discomfort and pain.
  • While pregnant women can perform this exercise, they should be careful to perform it, especially when someone is around to help.

Make sure you perform the exercise in the correct way!

#benefits #lunges

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