In the past few years I have taken the emphasis away from weighted exercises for my legs. Instead opting for Bodyweight movements especially the bodyweight squat and lunge. In doing this I have not only realised just how effective they can both be but also how many variations of the Lunge exist and how it can work as a total body exercise…..
In this post I want to go over some of the best variations I have found, linking some videos and hopefully showing you a few new tips and tricks when it comes to lunging. My inspiration for this article actually came from another post called “One Move to Improve your Athletic Prowess” which emphasises the effectiveness of the walking lunge with a rotation.
“There’s one move that’s a time-tested winner for improving performance in just about every sport; one that has helped countless fighters, dancers, golfers and tennis players — pro’s to Joe’s — improve their game: the lunge with rotation.”
They included a pretty good explanation of technique too:
To perform the movement, begin standing with your hands together or around a medicine ball tucked under your chin. Take a step forward into a lunge. As soon as you’re stable in the bottom position of the movement, extend your arms straight out and rotate as far as you can to the side of the lead leg. Be sure to not let your shoulders and upper back round. Rotate back, bring your arms/the ball back in and return to the standing start position. Repeat the same process with your other leg. That’s one rep.
The beauty of the rotation lunge is how effective it is with no weight just using your outspread arms to add resistance. If you would like to add some resistance holding a light medicine ball is a great way to progress and get some extra core strength.
This really is a great bodyweight exercise as it forces your total body to work in a Functional sense. The key form point for this lunge and all lunges are:
- Keep your Back and Torso upright and tight
- Move as an elevator (up and down) and not an escalator (see video below)
- Take a wide enough step to put weight on the front leg
- Don’t let knee go past the toe (as this puts extra stress on the knee)
These are nice basic lunge variations that most anyone can do. If you are more athletic and want a bigger challenge there are several variations I like….
Alternating Jumping Lunge – This is the same as a conventional lunge but instead of stopping and doing each rep individually you will jump from one lunge to the next, alternating. This doesn’t allow the muscle to rest and also integrates a explosive element which is great for improving athletic performance….
Diagonal Lunge – The diagonal lunge is a excellent movement as again it works in the way your body would work functionally during a sport or everyday activity. It is done by just lunging out at an angle, beware though it can be a bit more stressful on the knee joint so if your knees are susceptible to injuries take it easy. The video I linked to shows a diagonal lunge with a reach, which is a great way to add some bodyweight resistance to the movement.
Here is my Lunge Workout:
- 20 Reps of Alternating Jumping Lunges
- 20 Reps x 2 sets of Lunge with a Rotation (Using a 4-7kg Medicine ball)
- 20 Reps of Diagonal Lunges alternating sides
This is a great way to work the legs without risking injury and making them “too” big which can be a problem for some people when they start weight training with legs. I find once legs grow too large via Heavy squatting, leg presses and extensions one can have trouble not only fitting on jeans but athletically performance suffers (depending on the sport of course). This is just my personal opinion and for most people I recommend bodyweight movements or light weights when training the legs. Sure I still occasionally do some weighted squats or Leg Pressing but I use them to shock the muscles or change things up rather than a mainstay.
Also lets not forget that the Lunge is a great full body exercise causing the upper body to stabilise to keep things together, and is why it should be one of the first things on your workout plan.
If you have any good bodyweight leg routines to share please comment below……
If you liked this post, please Share it on Twitter by using the box below.
And also checkout my e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘. Thanks for reading.