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What Muscles Do Lunges Target?

by
author image Ashley Farley
Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.
What Muscles Do Lunges Target?
A man is doing lunges. Photo Credit MeikePetri/iStock/Getty Images

If you've ever been to a health club or performed your own fitness routine, you've probably come across the lunge exercise. Lunging is a calisthenic activity that can also be classified as a resistance training exercise. As you move into and out of a lunge, your body weight becomes the force you're pressing against. Lunges allow you to elevate your heart rate while also targeting several muscle groups simultaneously.

Use the Proper Technique

Performing each lunge with the proper technique ensures that your muscles will benefit, and you also reduce the risk for any injuries. Stand up with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Step 2 to 3 feet forward with your right leg. Bend both of your knees to lower yourself down into a lunge. Each knee should create a 90-degree angle. Keep your front knee directly over your ankle and behind your toes to avoid unnecessary strain on your knee. Push off with your right leg and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left foot stepping forward.

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Benefits of Lunges

The lunge is a lower-body exercise that works several muscle groups at once. The targeted muscles include the glutes in your hips and butt along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in your lower legs, your abdominal muscles and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise. Lunges also help your body burn calories for weight loss. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person can burn up approximately 55 calories with 10 minutes of calisthenic exercises, such as lunges.

Try Different Lunges

You can try several variations on the basic lunge that can help increase the challenge of your workouts and provide you with more results. Instead of stepping forward with your leading foot, do a glute-activation lunge by crossing your right leg in front of your left, lunging and then twisting your torso to the right. Perform an equal number of reps to both sides. You can also hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase the resistance during each lunge.

Perform Alternative Exercises

Along with changing the style of lunge that you perform, you can do different exercises to target the same muscle groups. If you always perform the same type of exercises your body will eventually adapt to the challenge and you won't progress. This is known as hitting a plateau. Try other lower-body resistance training exercises such as squats, leg presses and leg curls.

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References

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