Monday, April 13, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are hands down one of the greatest leg exercises you can do.

The reason they are so high up on the list is because you not only get a fantastic leg workout, but you are also working on flexibility at the same time. Each lunge forces your body to stretch into a lowered position that really allows the hip flexors of the back leg to elongate and open. That means you get strength, conditioning, toning, and flexibility benefits from just this one exercise.

Here's how to complete it:

1. Hold dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing towards your body

2. Lunge forward with one leg and allow both knees to bend

3. Lunge as deep as you can comfortably4. Push back up and forward through the front leg's heel

5. Repeat with the opposite leg walking forward for 12-16 total repetitions

Tips to Remember:

1. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and your chin parallel to the floor the entire set

2. Do not let your front knee go over the front foot when lunging

3. Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up

4. Start out with no weight if need be

5. Keep your arms by your sides throughout each repetition

If you are new to these, try them without weight for your first few times and concentrate on form. If you are a pro at these, add some weight.

If you are doing these at the gym, the track is great place to do these, but don't try to lunge around the corners. You don't want to take a chance of getting out of alignment.

One additional tip for the all the fitness divas (and divos) out there - Take these outside for an additional challenge - but not just anywhere. Find a hill! Walking lunges uphill is an INSANE great workout!

1 comment:

Trainer Shauna said...

I agree! Not only are they great for muscle tone, they also get your heart rate up there! I like to have my clients do a set of walking lunges to the opposite end of the field and then go right into 10-15 jump squats. Yeouch! It burns!