Did you know that lunges are one of the best simple exercises you can do to drastically improve health and muscle tone? You should be doing daily lunges, and I'm about to tell you exactly why!
I've written a lot in my blog posts about specific exercises that are far more effective than average, like low-impact HIIT workouts!
In that blog post I talked a little bit about how Beachbody Barre Blend is a great example of a low-impact, but highly effective workout that won't hurt your joints but will build muscle. The way that works is, there are exercises called isometric exercises. What are isometric exercises? They encourage tiny little muscle contractions instead of big muscle movements, and the way that happens is by doing exercises where you're holding yourself frozen in a position and using your muscles to keep yourself still. For example, goddess pose in yoga where you hold yourself down in a squat…that is a certainly difficult part not only of yoga but of Piyo too!
The point of these exercises is that they target your slow-twitch muscles instead of your fast-twitch muscles. The slow-twitch muscles are for endurance (whereas the fast-twitch ones are for quick power).
The reason I think this is so great is, it's an easy way to fatigue your muscles, and thus build your muscles bigger and stronger, without having to do some kind of high-impact workout that is bad on your knees and other joints.
One rule of thumb for what is considered high-impact is, "having both feet off the ground at once." You should be doing daily lunges because it doesn't require that…but still builds muscle!
You might be thinking, "Ok Michele, so lunges make my legs and glutes stronger. So what?"
Well, that's just it! By targeting large muscle groups like your legs and glutes, but also your core, you're building lots of muscle at once…which raises your metabolism and helps you lose weight!
Plus, unlike most exercises, daily lunges are GOOD for your back. Most of the time you have to worry that something you're doing is straining your back and spine, especially with poor form. But when it comes to lunges, they're reducing the load on your spine. It's almost like you have your own free spinal decompression table! (That's a table physical therapists use to stretch the spine and allow any displaced spinal fluid that's causing pain to move back into place.) I think it's so awesome that an exercise like daily lunges can have a similar effect, instead of giving you a bad back!
But of course, in order for you to get these benefits from lunges…ranging from a better BUTT, and abs…to increased metabolism…to reduced back pain (through a stronger core and stretched spine)…you have to have proper form.
First, just stand there and make sure that you're standing properly. As in, your upper body is straight and not slouching at all, and your shoulders are relaxed.
Then, put one foot forward and slowly lower down until both your knees are bent at 90 degree angles (the back knee not quiiiiite touching the floor). Then, keeping your body weight concentrated on your heels, slowly lift yourself back up.
And, if you don't have the core strength or leg strength to do this by yourself yet, feel free to use a wall for stability, as long as it doesn't mess up your form!