by Louise | November 9th, 2010 | Strength Training

We often talk about strength training referring to the strength of our arm muscles, but we can also perform strength training exercises for the muscles in our legs. One of the fundamental exercises that will help you strengthen your legs is lunges. Though lunges look relatively simple, they can be difficult to master.

Throughout a lunge, your body should not twist. Your back should be upright. You should be thinking about right angles: both knees should come to right angles, and both elbows should be kept at right angles, brought forward and backward with the leg of the opposite side. Lower and raise yourself completely in control. You can either “recover” to your front foot, and continue moving forward, or give yourself a push backward to return to your original position.

There are many variations on lunges, such as elevated lunges. Start with one foot about a yard from the edge of a bench, and elevate the other foot on the ledge behind you. Perform a lunge from this position, making sure, again, that your knee does not go out farther than your ankle. (You may need to adjust your foot placement.) Your hips should make it down to the level of the bench; try to keep your back straight up, and don’t forget your arms!

Elevated lunges amplify the element of balance in lunges. Never perform lunges quickly if it means that you will lose balance and have to use your arms to regain it. However, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, try using a balance pad under your foot on the ground, or add a hop when you bring yourself up from a lunges and make your way into the next one. You’ll feel the difference. It is common to perform 3 sets of 10-15 on each leg. If this becomes too easy, you can hold weights in both of your hands while performing the lunges.

Lunges get me feeling sore almost every time, and I find that to be a good thing. You can always push yourself to a new limit and continue to build those leg muscles!

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.