Lunges with dumbbells can rightly be called one of the most effective basic exercises for developing the muscles of the hips and buttocks. Compared to squats, lunges allow you to concentrate the load on one leg and work out the muscles more carefully. Using dumbbells as weights allows you to better maintain balance and makes the load on the spine lower than in the case of lunges with a barbell.
Emphasis on quadriceps and buttocks
If we analyze what muscles work during lunges with dumbbells, we get the following picture:
- Quadriceps (the quadriceps femoris muscle, occupies its front surface) is one of two main working groups. This muscle extends the leg in the knee joint when we rise from a lower point.
- The gluteus maximus muscle (makes up the bulk of the buttocks) - along with the quadriceps, experiences a significant load, flexing the thigh when climbing up.
In addition to quadriceps and gluteus maximus, the following people take part in the work: abs, middle gluteus, thigh biceps, back muscles, calf muscles, etc. The main function of these muscles in this exercise is to stabilize the position of the body and legs. It is not for nothing that the movement is called coordinatively complex - it is not always possible to keep balance in the first place. You can also mention the muscles of the hands with which you hold the dumbbells - they work in static.
By varying the step width when doing lunges with dumbbells in your hands, you can shift the load towards the buttocks or towards the quadriceps:
- The step is wider, the supporting leg has an angle in the knee of more than 90 degrees - it stretches better and the gluteus muscle works more. This is the best option for most girls. However, the wider the setting of the feet, the less convenient it is to step and go back.
- The step is narrower, the supporting leg bends at a right angle - the front surface of the thigh is more involved.
The technique of lunges with dumbbells in hand allows a different step width, with the only proviso that the legs should not be too close to each other or, conversely, too wide. Too close is when the working leg begins to go out with the knee out of the line of the toe. Too wide is when the supporting leg is almost straight. In a wide position, with a good stretch, you can lunge in place, but not in dynamics.
Lunges with dumbbells, like any other types of lunges, create an increased load on the ligaments of the knee joints. In this regard, they are more traumatic than, say, squats. This is due to the fact that during squats, body weight and weights are distributed on two legs, and when doing lunges, you concentrate all the load on one leg. Of course, the muscles are delighted with this, but weak ligaments can suffer.
Therefore, in order to prevent injuries, use the following recommendations:
- Refrain from lunging with dumbbells in the presence of fresh knee injuries. If there have been injuries, but for a long time, do the exercise with extreme caution and finish with the slightest discomfort. Health, you know, is more expensive.
- Before you start training, you need to warm up the muscles and provoke the release of joint lubrication (synovial fluid). To do this, we squat and lunges without weights, rotate with feet and legs, bend forward, etc. It will take five minutes, but the effect of the training will be much higher, and the likelihood of injury is lower.
- When working with heavy weights, do not take steps. That is, both legs remain in place and your lunges with dumbbells are automatically transformed into squats into scissors .
- If you have not practiced lunges before, first work out the technique without weight.
- If you experience pain, discomfort, or any other signals that shouldn’t be normal - finish the exercise.
If, due to problematic knee joints, lunges do not suit you, then you can try to replace this exercise with the abduction of legs (swings) standing back, forward, to the sides. This can be done in a special simulator or on the lower block. To study the buttocks, lunges can be replaced with a gluteal bridge. But, since any trauma is individual - universal recommendations do not exist, and therefore it is better to consult a doctor.
Actually, we turn to the description of how to lunges correctly.
What is called a “run-in” exercise is better without weight or with nominal dumbbells or weighting materials. If the test succeeds, take the load more seriously.
The execution technique is as follows:
- Pick up the dumbbells and stand upright. The feet are the width of the pelvis, the back is straight, the shoulders are straight, the gaze is directed forward. This is the starting position.
- On inspiration, take a working step forward, transfer body weight to it and bend the knee. Try to put your foot gently and firmly, do not fall forward with all your weight. The step width should be such that the knee of the working leg does not extend beyond the projection of the toe. The angle in the knee of the working leg is 90 degrees or slightly less. The supporting leg is on the toe.
- On exhalation, pushing the heel of the working leg off the floor, return back to its original position.
- Repeat the desired number of times.
Lunges with dumbbells, as mentioned earlier, are a basic exercise. It can be set after squats, leg presses or deadlifts.
The number of repetitions and approaches depends on your individual goals:
- To gain weight of the legs and buttocks, do 8-12 repetitions with each leg in 3-4 approaches. The burden should be so weighty that the last repetitions were given with difficulty. However, to get the result, doing the exercise correctly is much more important than gaining weight.
- If your goal is fat burning and relief, do 20–25 repetitions, but with a little weight and at a faster pace. In this mode, you can do the exercise with weighting.
As variations, you can perform:
- Lunges back. In this case, you do not step forward with your working foot, but with your supporting foot back. What is the difference? There is no moment of lowering the foot of the working leg to the floor and, accordingly, the shock load on the joints is reduced. But the working leg is always in tension and does not unload until the end, as in the classical version of the exercise. Choose the most comfortable option for you. Lunges back and forth can be alternated.
- Working leg on the platform. This embodiment of the exercise allows you to stretch the gluteus muscle more strongly and work it out better.
- Supporting foot on the bench (Bulgarian lunges). It removes the load from the supporting leg as much as possible and focuses it on the working one.
- Walking or dynamic lunges. This version of lunges with dumbbells or weights is great for fat burning workouts. You have to not only do the exercise, but also constantly stabilize the position of the body.
Lunging forward with dumbbells implies a large number of variations suitable for both men and girls. Performing them correctly, in combination with other exercises for the hips and buttocks, you will make your workout as effective as possible.