Nearly every client that I speak to wants to shape and tighten their legs, specifically their butt and thighs. Long gone are the days of abductor/adductor machine and low weight, high rep work to “tone” up.
Women are hitting the weights, and there is so much information out there on how to strength train properly. Sometimes that can lead to information overload. Today, I wanted to share with you an exercise that I love because it’s so efficient and a variation that is even more efficient.
The exercise I’m speaking about is lunges. Lunges are one of the queens of lower body training. When done with proper form, they recruit a high amount of muscle fibers, which means more muscle breakdown (and the subsequent repair that leads to muscle growth) and a higher rate of calorie burning (which helps to facilitate fat loss).
Here are just some of the other reasons why lunges are great:
• they can be done anywhere
• they can be used for beginners with just a body weight movement
• they can be advanced with kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells and other forms of weight
• they are multi-planar and can be done forward, backward, laterally or walking
• they target the quads, hamstrings, glutes and also the core because of their dynamic nature (you’re not standing in one place)
• they challenge your balance and spatial awareness
Here are some of the technique tips you want to focus on when doing any lunge variation:
• use this three step process- step, down then push
• the above process means you want to step out or back, then drop the knee straight down, then push up through the heel to return to the starting point
• keep your chest tall and your torso straight
• hold yourself up tall through your hips
• drive up through your heel and squeeze your glutes as you stand up
The Switch Lunge
The variation of this extremely efficient exercise that I wanted to share with you is the Switch Lunge. With the Switch Lunge, you will perform a reverse lunge with your right foot and then a forward lunge with your left foot. Repeat this process and then switch legs. I recommend anywhere from 6 to 10 of each and then switch legs, depending on your training level and where you fit this exercise into your routine.
You can use the switch lunge as a supplemental exercise to squats or deadlifts on a heavy lower body day or use it as a circuit for a higher metabolic demand. In the video, I demonstrate this using the body weight version but you can add dumbbells or kettlebells to make it more advanced.
When performing the switch lunge, use all the same technique tips that I mentioned above. As you get more comfortable you can go faster but make sure that all the weight is driving through your heel during each rep to avoid any knee pain.
Be sure to leave a comment if you tried these and let me know how it went for you.