Real talk: I love lunges. They not only help you sculpt and tone your lower body, but they also make everyday tasks easier. As one of the basic functional movement patterns, lunges mimic the way we walk, run, or climb stairs.
What makes lunges such a great exercise is that they recruit your glutes, quads, and core to maintain single-leg balance and stability. By working these big muscle groups, you build a stronger foundation for strength. Bonus: You can do them anytime and anywhere - while you're watching TV, before you hop into bed, or as you wait for laundry in the wash.
That said, in order to get the most out of this move, it's important to do them the right way. Here's exactly how to do a proper lunge:
1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides, on your hips, or in prayer position in front of your chest. Step your right leg back, keeping both toes facing forward.
2. Bend your left knee, keeping your knee directly over your ankle. Your right heel should be lifted off the ground and your right knee should be hovering above the ground (but not touching it). Keep your abs tight and lean your chest forward slightly to work your glutes.
3. Hold for one to two seconds, then return to standing position. Repeat 10 to 15 times, alternating sides. That’s one set; do three sets total.
Keep reading to learn the most common mistakes people make when doing lunges-so you can avoid them!
How to fix the most common lunge mistakes
Mistake: You don't keep your hips square.
The fix: Letting your hips or knees flare out to the sides can keep you from working your muscles properly and may even cause an injury. To keep your hips square (aka, facing forward), make sure your toes on both feet are facing forward. This will help you stabilise your hips and knees as you lower down into a lunge.
Mistake: You load your back knee with all of your weight.
The fix: A lunge is a split stance, and that's why you should balance your weight on both your front and back legs. The front knee should be directly over your ankle, while the back knee should be hovering over the ground. When you stand back up, be sure to push off your front foot to help you balance.
Mistake: You don't engage your core.
The fix: Keep your abs tight and lean forward slightly as you lower down. Engaging your ab muscles will help keep you stable and maintain the integrity of your spine. Recruiting your core will also help you feel more grounded as you stand back up.
Now that you know how to correct these common lunge mistakes, aim to incorporate lunges into your workout routine two to three times per week. Do 10 to 15 reps, alternating legs for three sets total. Want to kick things up a notch? Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you lunge. Your lower body will soon feel stronger and more powerful than ever-I promise!