Lunges can be an important part of any workout. When done properly, lunges allow you to work several sets of muscles while steadily increasing your heart rate, building muscle and creating flexibility. Although lunges are beneficial for conditioning, doing them everyday can put your knees, back and legs at risk for overuse injuries.
Lunges target the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, core muscles and calves. Lunges work the lower body, especially the glutes and hamstrings, as these muscles are fully engaged when supporting your body in a full lunge. Core muscles receive a major boost during lunges by holding the torso upright and improving your bilateral balance. Lunges may also be one of the best ways to stretch your hip flexors. Strengthening and lengthening these muscle groups with lunges can enhance performance for many sports. However, overdoing it can greatly diminish performance.
Lunges only strengthen these muscle groups if done correctly, which means you must perfect your lunge form. A common problem when performing lunges, especially forward lunges, is stepping too wide, which puts stress on the knees. However, this can be rectified by taking a smaller step forward to better align the shin and the foot. The front knee should be directly above the ankle in a 90 degree angle. Your other knee shouldn't touch the floor. Another common issue is poor positioning of the back during lunges. Rather than curving your back downward or leaning too far forward with a bent head, it should be upright to avoid unnecessary pressure on the back. You can stare at a focus point in front of you to avoid looking down.
Although the glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings may benefit the most from lunges, they can also suffer from aches and pains if overtrained by doing lunges every day. You may even experience decreased performance over time. Lunges are a strength-training exercise, and as with all strength training, the body needs a day of rest in between work days to fully recover and repair the muscles used. Doing lunges every day can also make you fatigued and unable to use proper lunge form, causing undue stress to your lower back, knees and calves and even possible injury.
You can also modify your lunges for an even more effective lower-body workout by alternating between side lunges, walking lunges, lunge lifts, or reverse lunges with dumbbells. Regardless of the type of lunges you do, it's important to make sure you rest in between to make sure you don't overextend yourself. Rather than doing lunges everyday and potentially causing injuries, try rotating upper-body and lower-body workouts or simply strength training one day, cardio or flexibility training another.