For those who are too busy living their lives, finding the time to exercise is enough to get their hearts pounding. However, if you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to find the time to move your body. So how can you squeeze in a little exercise in your cramped schedule? Easy, by bringing the gym wherever you go! No, not those expensive weight machines or equipment, but those often ignored yet surprisingly powerful tools that let you do the same kinds of exercises outside the gym. An exercise band is one such tool that is portable, takes up very little space in your bag and lets you do a variety of exercises for the entire body anytime, any place. The lunge is an example of an exercise that really works your lower body using this great piece of equipment called a resistance band.
Muscles Targeted: The lunge is a powerful exercise that can work wonders for your lower body, especially your butt! It tones, sculpts and strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes (butt), as well as your calves. It also increases hip mobility, gives your heart a good workout and helps to improve your balance. Although its largely a lower body workout, the lunge also targets your core as a secondary muscle group that needs to be engaged as you perform this exercise.
Exercise Instructions: Step on the band with your right foot and then bring the handles up to your chin. Move your left foot behind you and assume the traditional lunge position. Bring the left knee down to the floor, and then rise up again for a full repetition. Complete several reps on one leg first before switching to the other leg. Always keep your back straight throughout the exercise and do not hunch over with your shoulders or curve your back. Keep your shoulders back and maintain good posture.
Things To Avoid: Always consult with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program. If you are a beginner, ask a friend or family member to spot you. You can also do this exercise in front of a mirror to make sure your technique is correct. Before you perform this exercise, it’s probably best to master the traditional bodyweight lunge first without the use of the bands. Concentrate on quality rather than quantity of repetitions. Always use a very slow and controlled tempo while doing this exercise and avoid any fast, jerky movements.
When doing the lunge, make sure that your forward knee does not go over your toes as you might place too much tension on the knee versus the quadriceps muscle. Bring your knee all the way down to the floor without actually touching it to the ground. If you want to increase the intensity, use larger steps, but not too far that you get out of balance. Do not raise up too quickly and do not lock out your knees. Control every repetition and draw power from your legs and butt.
Some people find it difficult to maintain proper balance when doing lunges. Compensate by keeping your upper body in an upright position with your shoulders back and your back straight. Do not lean forward, hunch over or lean too far backwards as you do each repetition. Keep your chin up and look straightforward.
Reps and Sets: For those who are doing this particular exercise for the first time, start with bodyweight lunges first to get the technique correct, then move into the bands version. Do about 10-15 reps for each leg. It’s fine if you don’t do too many reps in the beginning, as long as you do each rep correctly. Gradually increase your reps to 15-20 per set and do 4-5 sets of lunges 1-2 times per week.
Other Exercises To Use: Aside from lunges, you can also do squats and glute kickbacks to develop your legs and tighten up your butt. Although the lunge is a powerful exercise, adding other exercises to your routine will intensify the burn in your muscles to make them stronger and more developed by targeting different areas with multiple exercises.