Move of the Week: Forward Lunge

April 30, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Great for your glutes and thighs (Henry Chan/The Epoch Times)
Great for your glutes and thighs (Henry Chan/The Epoch Times)
Lunges strengthen the legs. There are many different approaches to a lunge. We can step forward, back, side-to-side, walk with them, maintain a static position, and so on. The forward lunge is a basic lunging movement that can be performed using no weight (other than one's body weight) or weighted (carrying external weight such as a medicine ball or dumbbells in our hands or a weighted bar placed over the shoulders).

Instructions:

Start with your feet hip width apart. Check your alignment, making sure that your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles are in line with each other. Maintain this upright posture throughout the exercise.

Inhale into your lower abdomen, filling it up with air, like a balloon expanding. Holding your breath, quickly pull your navel to your spine. Lunge forward, landing with both legs bent. You want your front shin and back thigh perpendicular to the ground. Keep your front knee aligned with your second toe and your back knee lifted just off the floor in the lunge position.

Exhale through pursed lips or through your teeth as you return to the starting position.

If you push off the ball of your foot to return to the starting position, you will primarily use your quadriceps to propel backwards. If you push off your heel, you will primarily use your hamstrings and gluteals. Another option is to focus on equally pushing through the heel and ball of the foot. It is excellent for one's mental health capabilities to focus on these details while exercising because it keeps one alert and mindful.

Please note: While lunging, it is important to maintain proper alignment. People will often lean back before stepping forward, and land with their torso tilted forward, in front of the hips. Then, upon returning to the starting position, commonly lean back as they push off their front leg. Rather than compensating with these cheat movements, use your breath to activate your waist muscles responsible for stability.

Practice eight to twelve repetitions on each side. Once you have the hang of the technique, add weight.