Lungeing: sort of like walking, only way more effective – if you know how to lunge properly, that is.
There’s a reason you’ll find this move in the workout plan of every fitness influencer worth their pink Himalayan salt.
"Not only are lunges great for lower-body mobility and muscle activation, they’re also crucial for injury-prevention," says PT Monty Simmons.
The lowly lunge is a compound exercise, meaning, if you know how to lunge properly, you’ll target multiple areas at once – not just your legs, but your bum and core, too.
And that’s not all. Lungeing could also help you make strides on the field. "Lunges can help with balance, coordination, motor skills and leg strength, which translate to a wider range of sports than the skills needed to perform, say, squats."
How To Lunge Properly: Form Check
The key to mastering this move is your posture: wobbling is a sign you’re doing it wrong.
Start by engaging your abs. If you’re still teetering, shorten the step distance, but make sure your front knee doesn’t end up protruding over your toes.
Use a mirror to check your posture, as poor form can result in pain in the lower back, knees and hips. Go on, take the (p)lunge.
Avoid if you have hip or knee pain or poor mobility in your hips and lower back.
How To Lunge Properly: A Step-By-Step
a. Keeping your back straight, engage your core muscles and place your hands on your hips to stay balanced.
b. Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend your knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Allow your back heel to lift, but don’t let the knee touch the floor.
c. Step back to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Take Your Lunge Up A Notch
Feel like you can lunge in your sleep? Crank up the difficulty with these extra burners.
1. Add movement
Lunge, then bring your back foot through to lunge forward on the other leg. Keep going for 10 steps, alternating feet, then turn around and go back the way you came. Repeat twice more.
2. Add weight
Perform walking lunges while carrying light dumbbells in each hand – start with 5kg and work your way up. Keep your arms straight down at your sides and don’t slouch your shoulders.
3. Add jumps
Lose the weights and try jumping lunges. Lunge, then jump up, switching legs in the air, and land back in a lunge with the other leg in front. Aim for six on each leg, but stop if your form suffers.
This article originally appeared in Women's Health UK