The question: I am so bored of lunges. I know they are good for me, but aren’t there any fun variations?
The answer: Absolutely! In fact, one of the reasons I love my job is the endless number of exercises and training methods that are available. Once you start exploring, you can end up down a rabbit hole filled with fun fitness variations.
If you currently do weighted stationary lunges, try a single-arm kettlebell lunge: Stand holding the handle of the kettlebell with your right hand, so that the bell extends upward toward the ceiling. (This hand position will challenge your wrist, forearm and core in a way that a traditional grip does not. If you don’t have a kettlebell, try using a dumbbell). Step your left foot backward, bend both knees so that your body moves towards the floor. Use your right bum muscle to stand up while simultaneously pushing the bell toward the ceiling. The challenge will be keeping the bell stable. Do 10 reps before switching sides.
Then there is the walking backward lunge. Moving backward will challenge your balance and proprioception (your body’s ability to know where it is in time and place). First, clear a space behind you. Then, step your left leg back. Lunge down toward the floor, then lift your right leg up and step it backwards. Repeat this cycle 10 to 20 times.
Lastly, try combining lunges with other exercises. Either do a traditional superset where you do a set of lunges on both legs paired with another exercise, or do a set of lunges on one leg, then before you switch legs, do a second exercise for that same leg.
I love combining lunges with a balance exercise. Try doing 10 lunges with your right foot forward. Then lift your left leg up to balance on your right leg for 30 seconds. For more of a challenge, close your eyes as you balance.
Trainer’s tip: Trying variations of any exercise can be fun, but don’t forget you can challenge yourself by simply manipulating tempo (speed), sets and reps. Go slower, do less reps with heavier weight, more reps with lighter weight or add in an extra set. These basics are often overlooked, but can offer huge training gains and can be manipulated without equipment.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.
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