Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: The Lunge

The lunge is a very effective way to strengthen and tighten your legs and butt. It’s also a great functional exercise as it mimics walking (exaggerated walking of course). Lunges use all the muscles in the legs because the action is rather unstable and even the muscles that are not doing the primary heavy lifting are engaging so support and stabilize the body.

The Muscles Worked: Quadriceps, Gluts, Soleus (lower part of the calf). Hamstrings and gastrocnemius (upper part of the calf) also engage to provide stabilization

How to:

  1. Start by taking a large step forward placing most of the weight on your front heel.
  2. With controlled movement, bend both knees until each are at a 90 degree angle. It is okay to come up on the back toes.
  3. Slowly raise back up without locking the knees and step the front foot back to the starting position.
  4. Do all reps (12) on one side and then switch sides and repeat.

Trainer Tips:

  • Check yourself out in a mirror to make sure that your front knee remains over your ankle and never goes past the toe (this will project your knees).
  • Keep breathing throughout the exercise.
  • Try lunges ad different angles for even more functional training. You can lunge back or out to the side.

Make 'em Harder: Grab a set of dumbbells and hold them at your sides while completing your lunges to increase resistance. You can also lunge onto or off of a BOSU to challenge stability and improve balance. Walking lunges are also great. These are performed without turning to the starting position and simply lunging in a straight line from one point to another.


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