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Never skip a leg day! Whether you love them or love to hate them, lunges are a great exercise for building lower-body strength. They’re a functional, foundational movement that allow you to do daily activities like walk, run, skip, and climb stairs.

Overall, lunges can help to build strength, stability, and flexibility in your lower body, and with its multiple variations, the lunge should be added to your fitness routine on your next leg day.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of lunges, which muscles they work, and how to do them the right way.

How to do a lunge with perfect form every time

Personal trainer demonstrating a lunge
Photo: Brittany Hammond, CPT
  1. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest.
  2. Step your left leg forward, bending both your front and back legs to a 90 degree angle.
  3. Keeping your chest tall, bend both knees and drop toward the floor with control. Keep lowering until your back knee is about an inch off the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  4. Push through your left foot to bring yourself back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat until all reps are completed on one side or alternate your reps, stepping forward with your right leg next.

The benefits of lunges that’ll convince you to add them to your workouts

1. They build lower-body strength

Not only do lunges work the posterior (think: glutes and hamstrings) side of your body, but they also activate muscles in your core, quads, and, depending on the type of lunge you do, your inner thighs.

2. They increase balance and stability

“Because lunges are a single-leg movement, they help to stabilize imbalances and strengthen the muscles,” says Emily Jaques, CPT.

They not only require lower-body strength, but also core strength to help keep you balanced.

“Lunges are a great way to build stabilization strength and increase control within the ankle muscles,” says Aryana Shokat, CPT. “As you take a micro-pause between lunge steps, the back heel is in a raised position, which forces you to activate all the ankle stabilizers, which often get weak. When the stabilizers weaken over time due to misuse, we are more prone to accidents like falling due to the lack of control and strength in the foot muscles.”

3. They increase flexibility

Because there are so many variations of lunges, they’re great for increasing your flexibility. Outside of the traditional forward and reverse lunge, there are additional variations that allow you to increase range of motion in lateral directions and challenge your depth, Shokat explains.

“Aside from weighted lunges, there are various lunge stretches that allow the body to deeply open up the quads and hamstrings, which often are tight muscle groups for many people,” she says.

4. They don’t require any equipment

One of the best things about lunges is that you don’t need to add weight for them to be challenging, Jaques says. Though you can add resistance, doing them with your body weight works just as well. This also allows you to be able to do them anywhere: hotel rooms, airports, your kitchen… all the world’s a gym.

“Get creative and vary the different types of lunges into your workouts so your body can receive the maximum strength, flexibility, and conditioning effect

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