Five lunge variations to increase your Mobility, Strength, and Muscle.
You may not realize it but everything we do – from getting up off the ground to climbing stairs to playing any sport – puts us in a lunge position of sorts. To truly make your body more efficient, you need to reinforce that movement. The only way to do that is to show the lunge some love by, well lunging. A lot. Work in any of these lunge variations during your next training session, either as one-off moves for mobility work or as a circuit. You’ll improve your movement and add slabs of mass to your legs.
- Lateral Lunge: This variation loads the groin and glutes differently than the standard lunge and forces your body to balance and stabilize in a new plane of motion. Do these if you’re looking to move better or work some muscle groups you don’t normally hit. Do it: Lunge laterally, keeping your stationary leg straight leg straight. Extend the dumbbells to either side of the lunge foot. Drive the hands and body back to the starting position.
- Crossover Lunge: This balancing act of a lunge is probably the most difficult variation on the list, but the lack of stability will also recruit more muscle fibers in your quads and core as you fight to not fall over. Do it: Lunge forward, but then cross the lead foot over and across the midline of your body. Extend your arms toward the side of your lead foot. Then drive hands and body back to the starting position.
- Open Rotational Lunge: This one will take some time getting used to, as you’re essentially combining a reverse lunge and a lateral lunge. However, the hammy, and glute gains are worth it. Do it: Take a long stride to the side and back – think diagonally – and open your hips to gain width and depth to your movement. As your lunge foot hits the ground, extend your arms and reach your hands on either side of the lunge foot. Drive the hands and body back to the starting position. *TRAINER TIP: The open rotational lunge is a great move to perform before hip-dominant moves like deadlifts and back squats.
- Step-Back Lunge: The lunge is not a “lunge” in the traditional sense. In fact, it has more in common with a single-leg Romanian deadlift, but it makes the list due to the immense posterior chain development it provides. Do it: Take a short step back. (The toes of your back foot should be at the heel of your stationary foot.) With a slight lean toward your straight leg, hinge at your hips and extend your arms, reaching your hands toward either side of your forward foot. After loading the hamstring and lightly touching the ground with the dumbbells, hinge back up to the starting position.
- Forward Lunge: This is your standard front lunge, which hits your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and hip flexors. Do it: Take a long stride straight ahead with one leg. As your lunging foot hits the ground, extend your arms and reach your hands toward the lead lunge foot. Load the weight on the lead leg as your drive the hands and body back to the starting position.
DOUBLE-TEAM YOUR LEGS
Streamline your efforts during your next leg day with this two in one move.
Combining the kettlebell, Romanian deadlift, and a goblet squat is a smart move. You hit your hamstrings, glutes, and lower-back muscles with the RDL and then tax your quads, core, and upper back muscles – as you fight to keep your torso upright – with the squat.
Better yet, the move can serve multiple purposes, according to trainer Nicholas Panebianco from Trooper Fitness in New York City. “The beauty of the RDL to goblet squat is that it can be used as a warm-up before squats or deadlifts to increase muscle fiber recruitment as a way to improve your posture,” says Panebianco. “Or use it as a metabolic finisher to get your heart rate up and burn extra calories.” Ready to give it a shot?
Kettlebell RDL to Goblet Squat
- With feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold a light kettlebell by the horns.
- Brace your core and then hinge at the hips, lowering the kettlebell until you feel your hamstrings contract.
- Drive your hips forward and then, in one swift motion, position the kettlebell underneath your chin, with elbows tucked in. Squat down until your thighs break parallel with the floor, then drive back up. That’s one rep.
(Taken from Muscle & Fitness Magazine | Written by Ignition Coach, Chris Gray)