The lunge is one of the most versatile and functional exercises there is. The movement is applicable to any sport and activity and is great for building unilateral strength and stability (fancy talk for ‘strong on one leg’), which is important because we often find ourselves in single-leg positions in life. Besides being great for lower body strength and power, the lunge is fantastic for working on imbalances that most of us have between the left and right leg.
Almost every land-based sport utilizes some version of a lunge. A boxer, for example, will drop into a partial lunge, combined with quick rotation at the hips, to throw a big cross towards an opponent. A rock climber often has to combine multiple deep lunge patterns with rotation and upper body pulling with each step upwards.
Virtually all of our lower-body muscles get used in the lunge. The quadriceps straighten the knees from a bent position, the hamstrings and gluteals straighten your hip when you return to the standing position, and the whole lower body works to stabilize and manage impact throughout. In addition to the obvious strength benefits, using these large muscle groups can also speed up your metabolism, which is beneficial if you’re trying to lose excess body fat.
Before attempting the different variations of the lunge, such as the weighted lunge and lateral lunge, it’s important to first learn to do the basic bodyweight lunge with proper form so your body learns to stabilize even during high-intensity exercise. In the video below, you can see some of the lunge progressions that we do in our sessions.
0:01 The Lunge
0:17 The Medball Lunge
0:40 The Lateral Lunge
1:01 The Cossack Squat
1:25 The Assisted Pistol
One last lesser known fact about the lunge: this exercise can also help in improving our core strength as a whole, especially once you progress to the weighted variations, as your core needs to work to stabilize dynamically through multiple planes as it works to stay upright and in control. Simple, but effective for so many reasons. As always, don’t hesitate to approach any of our coaches for guidance if you have any questions about any of the variations.
The Ritual Team