You will find it simple to add a dumbbell lunge to your workout routine. What isn't simple are the lower-body benefits from this effective exercise. This at-home exercise does not take a lot of time, so add dumbbell lunges into your routine two or three days a week and enjoy the strength and toning benefits. Use a weight that allows you to complete at least eight, but no more than 12 lunges. Start with a pair of 5-pound dumbbells and increase as your strength improves.
Stand tall with your feet together to begin the lunge. Hold onto a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms are straight at your sides with your palms facing you. You have a choice to step forward or backward during your dumbbell lunge. Both have the same benefits, but one may feel more comfortable for your knees and your balance. If you choose the forward lunge, shift your weight onto your left foot and then step your right foot approximately two or three feet in front of you. Bend both knees as you lower your body. Keep your right knee in vertical alignment with your right heel. If you choose the reverse lunge, shift your weight onto your left foot and then step your right foot approximately two or three feet behind you. Bend both knees and lower your body while keeping your left knee in line with your left heel. To finish each lunge, push off the floor with the moving foot and return to the starting position.
The lunge targets the fronts of your thighs. Also known as the quadriceps, these muscles contract when you straighten your knee. As you push away from the floor with your leg and straighten it, you use your quads. The backs of your thighs, your hamstrings, remain contracted to keep your knee from bending too quickly and you falling to the floor. The muscles in your lower legs also statically contract to provide stability for the lunge. Add lunges to your workout routine to improve the look, strength and feel of your legs.
The glutes are a common problem area for women. If this area is a trouble spot for you, consider adding lunges to your exercise program. The lunge improves all three areas of your glutes: maximus, medius and minimus. The function of the glutes is to extend your hips. This hip extension occurs when you move from a lunge into a standing position.
It may come as a suprise to you that your core is also involved in this lower-body exercise. Without a strong core as your base of movement, your lunge is unstable and your upper body will move around. The goal is to keep your upper body still as you lunge forward or backward. To do this, your abdominals contract.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.