Lunges are the perfect exercise for runners. While in the lunge position you are strengthening your Glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps all while improving balance, coordination and core stability. Your abdominals, back and calf muscles act as stabilizers. Lunges are versatile and appropriate for most fitness abilities from beginner to advanced.
I've pulled together a few of my favorite lunge variations. Try them in a circuit fashion, complete the reps on each leg for each exercise before moving on to the exercise with little to no rest between moves. Once you finish all three lunge variations, take a short break and repeat the circuit one or two more times to complete the workout.
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I am using eight-pound weights in this workout. I recommend starting with a weight that feels easy and increasing the weights only after you get comfortable with the movements.
Warm up with a set of eight to twelve body weight forward lunges on each leg.
WARM UP: FORWARD LUNGE:
With your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, engage your core and keep your back straight. Take one large step with your right leg to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Do not allow your knee to move forward over your toes. Do not lean forward or rest your arms on your thighs. Once you are in the lunge position push up through your forward leg's heel to the starting position.
OVERHEAD LUNGE WITH ROTATION
Hold a dumbbell on each end and with straight arms hold it over your head. Step forward into a lunge position as described above until your thigh is parallel to the ground (or as low as your flexibility will allow). Once in the low lunge position, with straight arms, bring the weight down and to the side of your forward leg, twisting your torso. Return your arms to the overhead position. Stay in the low lunge position (isometric hold) and complete the rotation reps on this side before returning to the start position and repeating on the other side.
If holding the weight over your head is too challenging to start, hold the weight straight out in front of your chest for your starting position and complete the rotation as described above.
WEIGHTED SIDE LUNGE
Face forward with toes pointing straight ahead, hold a weight in your left hand and take a wide step out to your right side. Push your hips back, bend your right knee and hinge at the hips to lower into a side lunge position, bring the weight in your left hand to touch the floor next to your right foot. Do not round your back or allow your knee to move forward beyond your toe. Be sure to keep your torso and toes facing forward. Return to starting position and perform the assigned reps, then repeat on the other side.
Holding a dumbbell on both ends at chest height stand with your feet hip apart. Cross your right leg behind the body and to the left. Bend left knee 90 degrees, or as low your flexibility will allow. While in the low position, straighten your arms to press the dumbbell out from your chest. Bring the dumbbell back to your chest and return to starting position. Alternate sides until you have completed the assigned reps on both legs.