If you’re someone who’s looking to get a jump start on the fat loss and muscle firming process, one thing that you need to be doing is a number of lunge variations.
Lunge variations add excitement to your workout program, reducing your risk of falling off the bandwagon due to boredom. Furthermore they also will help to strengthen all the main muscles in the lower body, and by using a number of variations, you can ensure that you never hit a progress plateau. One of the biggest mistakes far too many people make is doing the same workout over and over again, which only quickly leads them to stalled progress and frustration.
Fortunately, we have a number of lunge variations for you to try out that will help you take your progress one step further.
Let’s have a look at the top options to consider.
The Walking Lunge
The first of the lunge variations is the walking lunge. This is the one that most people know all too well and include regularly in their workout program.
The walking lunge is perfect for firming up the quads, hamstrings, glutes, as well as the core as it comes into play to keep yourself balanced as you take each step forward.
This exercise is ideal for getting your heart rate up as well, so if you want to get a little cardio action in that workout routine, this is a great choice to go for.
Take a look at the video below on the Walking Lunge:
The Backwards Lunge
The second of the lunge variations to note is the backwards (rear) lunge. Now this is one that you should have some weight lifting experience under your belt to do, so not a choice for beginners.
It’s going to require quite a higher degree of balance and agility to perform it while staying safe. If you do feel that you fit the bill to do this movement, start slowly without any weight. Make sure that you are in a large room with no obstacles behind you and then slowly begin lunging backwards.
The advantage to going in the opposite direction is you’ll target the neuromuscular adaptation element of the workout better, which can help to boost the strength of all the very small muscles deep within the lower body.
Check out the video below we found on the Backwards Lunge:
The Side Lunge
Moving along, the side lunge is the next terrific option to include in your workout program. While the front and back lunges tend to target the quads and hamstrings to a larger extent, the side lunge is a movement that is really going to hit the inner and outer thighs.
For those women out there who want that streamlined look, this lunge variation is perfect.
To perform it, you’re simply going to stand in an upright position and then move one leg out to the side of the body, bending that leg while you keep the other straight as you lunge.
Once you’re in the full lunge position, return that leg back to the starting position and either repeat, or switch sides and perform on the other side instead.
Whether you choose to alternate or not, this is a good lunge variation for firming any ‘saddlebacks’ you currently have happening in your lower body.
Check out the video below on the Side Lunge:
The Split Squat
The next of the lunge variations that you should note is the split squat. This one is a combination of a lunge and a squat and is ideal for really firming up that backside, producing that ‘rounded’ look that so many women are going for.
It’s also an exceptional exercise for strengthening the core as well as no other exercise will have you off balanced quite as much as this one. The more off balanced you are as you complete your various exercise, the more you’re going to find you get those ab muscles being called into play.
Don’t be surprised if you wake up the next morning after performing this lunge variation with a sore mid-section.
When doing the split squat, the two main things you want to focus on are keeping the back in as upright position as possible to prevent lower back strain, and secondly, focus on pressing up through the heel rather than the toes.
If you do this, you’re going to shift your body weight slightly back a bit, which will then place more stress on the glute muscles as opposed to the quads.
This is one way that you can be sure you are targeting the proper muscle tissues and getting that firm backside look you’re after.
Take a look at the video below on the Split Squat:
The Stationary Lunge
Finally, the last of the lunge variations to consider is the stationary lunge. This exercise is ideal for those who are working out in a smaller room and can’t go walking 20 feet into the distance with their lunges. Instead, you’ll stay in just one spot as you work all the muscles in the lower body.
You can choose to either perform one lunge with one leg and then switch sides for the next rep or you can do all reps on one side, rest, and then repeat to the other side.
The former option will be better for working on your balance and core strength as you’ll have to adjust your movement pattern more as you switch sides, while the latter option will be better for building up muscular endurance.
Choose whichever option is best suited to your current goals.
You can view the Stationary Lunge below:
So there you have the primary lunge variations that you should consider adding to your workout routine. Keep in mind that you definitely do not want to perform each and every one of these variations in all the workouts you do – that would quickly lead you to become overtrained.
Instead, perform just one or two of the lunge variations but make sure to cycle them over time. If you can do one variation for a two week period and then move on to the next, you’ll ensure that you keep progressing and getting stronger, firmer, and fitter than you were before.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]