Sunday, August 2, 2009
I am sure everyone out there has something that they just HATE to do. I don't mean the dishes, or their taxes, although I hate both with a white hot passion. I mean physically, athletically, something that we know we should do to challenge our bodies, but don't wanna. I hated lunges. Really, really hated them. You can ask anyone who has taken body pump with me: when the lunge track came on, I would run to the restroom or refill my water bottle and maybe catch the last 60 seconds of the set.
But I used to lunge all the time--I used to lunge after the last pair of wedges at shoe sales, lunge after the remote as I laid on the couch, lunge after chocolate cake like I would never see chocolate cake, ever again. I should have been used to lunging, but I wasn't. It was HARD (insert annoying whiney tone, followed by slight wimper). One day I decided I was sick of feeling like such a wimp in class, I sucked it up and did the entire lunge track. Everything burned and I was shaking afterwards, but I was proud of myself too. Every class I would stick it out and then I started to do them at home, seriously.
Below I have outlined the proper way to do a static lunge, a few modified lunges and some options for doing weighted lunges!
First, focus on the basic form. This is key to so many movements: doing a few exercises with precise form is more beneficial than doing a lot that are improper or sloppy! Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and take a big step forward, landing with your heel. Throughout the exercise your body weight should rest in that front heel, so much so that you should be able to wiggle your toes and lift them off the floor. Your front leg should be forming a 90 degree angle at the knee and your knee should be over your ankle, it should NOT come past your toes. I always make sure that I can see the toes on my front food as I lunge.
The movement is in lowering your back leg straight down NOT moving your front leg forward at all. So keep an eye on your toes at all times and don't loose that angle. The heel on your back leg should not be touching the ground. Also, your hips should be tipping forward, not backwards. Once you get into position to lunge, check your hips before you begin. Not sure which way your tipping? Try thrusting youras you are in set position. That is where you want it. If you are not keeping it centered and tipped forward, you may lean forward unintentionally. Lower your back leg down, so that both knees create 90 degree angles and hold for 1-2 seconds, then up to set position, pushing through your front heel on the way up. That is your basic lunge. You should feel it mostly in your quadriceps and slightly in your hamstrings.
with hand 3lb weights
For a challenge, you can lower down and only come up half way, or pulsing slightly in the 'Basement" of the movement before coming up, but beware the burn here. The basement is a love/hate place.
- weight in front heel
- knee at 90 degree angle, never past toes
- hips tipped forward
- lower the back leg only, front leg stationary
- push through the heel
For better lunge results (the results are killer quads and a super great booty) use a weight to add resistance. You can use hand weights as shown above, a plate, a bar either on your back or between your legs or any household item that you have handy.
with 10lb plate and fitz this cat coaching me
with barbell between legs
with tidy cat- don't knock it, that litter is a load!
So, for some additional modifications on your basic lunge, or weighted lunge! Using an aerobic step for your front foot is a great option to challenge the movement. You will work the gluts, quads and hamstrings big-time with the addition of the step.
An additional variation is to do a lateral lunge and step to the side and lunge on your way down.
lateral lunging lovies!
Lastly is the lunge with stability ball, which is a fairly advanced move. I do not have such great balance and am working on improving that through other exercises (see yoga post this coming week!) but this move is definitely a challenge to that. I am used to speed and momentum keeping me upright so watch out world, a static lunge with stability ball could very well be my downfall... (late at night, bad puns abound!!)
Stand in set position as you would for a static lunge but with the back leg resting on the stability ball just under the shin (you may need more room between your legs than usual). As you bend your front leg down to it's 90 degree angle resting place, guide your rear leg straight back behind you, rolling the ball away from you.
As you push up through the heel of the front foot on your way up to set position, pull the stability ball back toward your body, keeping your leg firmly on top. Note how my knee is a bit too forward in this picture: that is because I am nearly ready to topple! Beware of form like this when you lunge!
rolling forward:watch that knee mary!
I'd like to say that the lunges got easier every time I did them, but that would be lying. It feels just as hard each new time I do it, but the challenge and the burn is addicting! You can do it girls, remember-- it's just lunge!
Posted by Mary Mack at 9:01 AM
Muscles come to under the pressure of the iron.
They tighten, twitch, wake, the sleeping workers take shape
Burn, strain, blue popping vein, they’re holding water piecing together gain
They eat, they play they go away…
Skyway jaunt, weaving around walkers, brokers, sola stop where time slows to a tick, to a drip.
I can feel a woman’s eyes on me and sinuously I rework my cells under my jacket.
At my desk, blouse and lace: careful, I am naturally effervescent, pretty smile on my face.
Silver rings, on that pampered peachy hue
A tricep winks at you.