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Lunges are some of the most effective leg-strengthening exercises for working your lower body muscles.
This article will discuss some of the benefits of lunges and why you should incorporate them into your fitness training regimen.
Benefits of Lunges and Why You Should Do Them
Incorporating lunges into your fitness regimen will give you many benefits.
Low Barrier to Entry
One of the best benefits of lunges is it is a bodyweight exercise with no cost or barrier to entry. You don’t need any pieces of gym equipment to do the exercises, and they are easy to master.
Many variations and alternatives to lunges are available, making it possible to find one to suit your fitness level or physical condition.
Many variations of lunges can allow you to change the intensity of the movement, and you can make them challenging by including free weights, such as dumbbells and kettlebells, in the exercises.
Thus luges are suitable for both novice and experienced exercisers, young, old, females, and males.
Targets and Works Multiple Muscles
One of the main benefits of lunges is they can target and work several lower-body muscles simultaneously. Such muscles include:
- transverse abdominis
- erector spinae
Many of the listed muscles work to stabilize and mobilize your body during the movements.
The more you do the lunge exercises, the stronger the muscles get. Thus many strengthening and injury prevention activities tend to include lunges in their programs.
Working many muscles at the same time makes make lunges time efficient. Thus lunges are good exercises for busy people with little time to spare.
Can help you lose weight
One of the great benefits of lunges is their ability to help you burn more calories.
Lunges target many large lower-body muscle groups. These large muscles require lots of energy to function well. Requiring more energy means your body will need to burn more calories, helping you to lose weight.
Lunges can also help you to build lean muscle. That will, in turn, increase your resting metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories and therefore lose more weight.
Lunges can be part of a high-intensity training regime which can help push your body’s ability to burn calories to a different level to help you lose weight quickly.
Better Balance, Stability, and Coordination
Lunges are exercises that involve working on one side of your body unilaterally.
Thus one of the benefits of lunges is it forces your stabilizing muscles to develop better balance, stability, and coordination capabilities. That will help keep your body stable throughout the movements.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Lunges can strengthen and build your core muscles.
A strong core can help improve your posture and relieve knee and back pain. That can improve your athletic capabilities and reduce your risk of injury.
A strong core will make it easier to do many physical activities, including swinging a bat or a golf club, bending down to pick up an object from the floor, or climbing up and down the stairs.
Lunges can strengthen your core and back muscles without putting much pressure or stress on your spine, making it easy to carry out many simple daily activities.
Thus, one of the benefits of lunges is they make it easy for you to go through many day-to-day activities without difficulty.
Many sporting activities, such as running, include lunges in their training regimen because of their ability to help them improve their overall fitness and health.
Lunges can help build a symmetrical body
Lunges can help correct misalignments and imbalances in your body to help give you a symmetrical body.
Targeting and working on each side of your body allows you to concentrate more on the weaker side of your body, helping you to bring both sides into balance.
You will be able to spend more time and effort on your weaker side. Thus you will not overuse or overcompensate for the stronger or dominant sides. That can only be possible with unilateral exercises such as the lunge.
Modern-day lifestyle can affect our mobility. Many of us spend long hours behind computer screens which can cause weak glutes and tight hip flexors.
Lunges are some of the best exercises that stretch and loosen tight hip flexors. Lunges can also help build and strengthen your glutes, helping to improve your mobility.
Strong Lower Body Muscles
Lunges can target and work your lower body muscles, including your core and hamstrings. The movement can help tighten the muscles in your leg and butt, making them a favorite exercise for runners.
The mechanics of lunges are similar to the strides you make when running but without the high impact associated with running.
Thus, athletes can use lunges to train their lower body to help them build strong muscles capable of absorbing the impact of high-intensity movements (1).
One of the benefits of lunges is they mimic real-world movements. Movements such as walking, jogging, and going up and down stairs are similar to lunges.
Thus lunges can help us condition our leg muscles, making it easy for us to perform those activities, and remain active and functional.
How many lunges should I do?
The number of repetitions and sets you do will depend on your goals, your fitness level, and the amount of resistance you use
Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps per leg if you are a beginner and relying on your body weight for resistance. Advanced or experienced athletes should aim for high reps and sets per session.
Are lunges bad for knees?
Lunges are not bad for your knees. But not doing it with the correct form can affect your knees.
The movement can put a lot of stress on your knees. Thus it can impact those with weak knees or a weak core.
Start with some of the alternatives to lunges if you have a weak knee to enable you to build and strengthen your muscles before progressing to the forward lunge.
Having said that lunges could put much stress on the knees of some people. Thus always speak to your physician or trained medical personnel before undertaking a strenuous exercise. And please avoid or stop the exercise if you feel any level of discomfort or pain when doing the exercises.
Should I do lunges with weights?
Yes, you can.
Adding free weights, like dumbbells and kettlebells, will increase the resistance and make the movement challenging.
But the amount of weight should be comfortable for you to manage in order to reduce the risk of injury. Beginners should always start the movements without weights and introduce them at a later stage.
Final words from LiveLIfe
Lunges are unilateral and compound exercises that can help strengthen and work your lower body muscles and make it possible for your body to function better.
You can reap many of the benefits of lunges by incorporating some of the movements in your lower body and whole-body workouts. But what options you go for should suit your goals and match your fitness level
- Erich J. Petushek, Dai Sugimoto, et al. 2017. Evidence-Based Best-Practice Guidelines for Preventing Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Young Female Athletes. National Library of Medicine. doi: 10.1177/0363546518782460. PMCID: PMC6592422