require a lot of space or equipment, making them a versatile addition to your fitness routine.
I can vividly recall the time when lunges were an integral part of my fitness regimen. Circa 2015, as a budding weightlifter, lunges were instrumental in building my foundational fitness level. Fast forward to 2019, the loaded lunge variations were pivotal in achieving a personal best deadlift of 1.5 times my bodyweight. Despite not being my favourite lower body workout, lunges have always yielded positive results, aiding me in achieving numerous strength and performance-related targets.
However, the advent of the pandemic disrupted the conventional training style I was accustomed to, as it became impossible to access barbells and a wide range of weights available in gym facilities. My goals transitioned from setting new personal bests to maintaining my mental wellbeing. I began focusing on low-impact exercises such as walking around my neighbourhood or on my apartment's treadmill (I was residing in Vancouver at that time). Quick kettlebell complexes and bodyweight exercises that I could perform in my living room became my go-to routine. I consciously avoided any exercises that felt less enjoyable to me.
Fast-forward to spring last year, when I had just joined a new gym and had a barbell at my disposal once more. I was busy re-familiarizing my body with movement patterns that were once second-nature to me and preparing myself to reintroduce loaded lunges into my routine. However, an unexpected sprained ankle led to an extended period of rest. When I returned to the gym a few months later, my confidence had taken a hit. Although my ankle had healed, I was apprehensive about lacking the strength and stability needed to perform certain exercises, including lunges.
In hindsight, I should have prioritized lunges since they are eccentric exercises that have been proven to be beneficial in preventing and rehabilitating lower limb injuries. They combine both strengthening and stretching elements, which I found useful when reintegrating lunges into my workout routine.
When Bridie Wilkins, the fitness director of Women’s Health, challenged me to perform 50 lunges a day for two weeks, I saw it as a golden opportunity to reacquaint my body with the exercise. I kept the rules flexible, allowing myself to choose any lunge variation and decide whether or not to add weight on a daily basis. I stuck with reverse lunges throughout, performing them either with one 10 kg dumbbell or just my body weight, depending on how I felt.
Aimee Victoria Long, a personal trainer, explains that lunges are a common lower-body exercise that helps strengthen and tone several muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Lunges primarily target the muscles of the legs, thereby improving your leg strength and making everyday activities like walking, running, and climbing stairs easier.
Research corroborates that lunges are beneficial for muscle stability and both static and dynamic balance as they require and help develop hip, knee, ankle, and foot mobility and stability. Lunges require you to balance on one leg at a time, which improves your balance and stability. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults to reduce the risk of falls.
Lunges mimic movements we perform in daily life, such as bending down to pick something up or stepping over obstacles. Building strength and flexibility through lunges can make these movements easier and safer. Maintaining proper form during lunges engages your core muscles. This not only strengthens your core but also contributes to better posture and spinal stability.
Lunges are considered eccentric exercises as the focus is on the “lowering” or “downward” phase, where the muscles are lengthened under tension. Eccentric exercises have been positively associated with improvements in flexibility due to the fact that they involve both strengthening and stretching elements.
Lunges promote hip flexibility, which is important for activities like squatting and maintaining a full range of motion in your lower body. Lunges work each leg independently, helping to address muscle imbalances. This can reduce the risk of overuse injuries and promote balanced muscle development.
There are many lunge variations, which allows you to target different muscle groups, adapt to personal circumstances, such as injuries, and prevent workout boredom. This variety keeps your workouts interesting and challenging. Lunges can be tailored to specific sports or activities. For example, athletes in sports that require explosive leg power (e.g., sprinting, basketball) can benefit from lunge variations that emphasize power and speed.
In conclusion, lunges are a time-efficient, strength-promoting exercise that doesn’t require a lot of space or equipment, making them a versatile addition to your fitness routine. Whether you're looking for a personal trainer service or the best Mackay gym, incorporating lunges into your workout routine can be a game-changer. So, the next time you're searching for "Mackay best gym near me reviews" or "Personal trainer near me", remember to ask about lunges and how they can enhance your fitness journey.