Dumbbell lunges are a great exercise to specifically target your quadriceps, gluteal muscles of your butt and your hamstrings. There is certainly a difference between doing barbell lunges with a barbell and doing dumbbell lunges with your hands supporting the weight with no stress going directly on your back muscles. When doing this movement your form is vitally important if you do not want to develop an injury. It could easily happen as you are doing a forward moving motion with weight which means that there will be a lot of extra stress going directly to your leading knee of the foot that steps in front.
The first position before you start is to get your back straight and your stomach tight as you hold a dumbbell in each hand. If you would like to avoid any forward movement, you can bend your leading leg to a 90 degree angle as you place your opposite leg behind you which will allow you to complete the lunge movement with each leg without your feet leaving the ground.
The execution of the traditional dumbbell lunge is the best option to fully utilize this exercise. Instead of moving your leg back, you will lunge forward with your lead leg. How far you lunge forward will change the emphasis that is placed on your quadriceps muscles. This is an advanced forward motion so you need to make sure that your knees never go past the point of your toes when you reach the fully extended lunge position.
You should be very aware of the stretch going on with the back leg as it supports your balance along with the weight of your front leg where you will be placing the majority of your weight and tension. From the bottom position, you will push off your lead foot to get back to the starting position in order to do another repetition.
Dumbbell lunges are without a doubt one of the best exercises that you can choose for your lower body and especially for your butt muscles. The reason why they are one of the best is that they will improve muscle tone and lower body strength while also helping with your stability and overall balance.
Although the primary muscles that are been used when doing dumbbell lunges are the gluteus (butt) and quadriceps, your hamstrings will also get a good workout when doing lunges since they are acting as secondary and stabilizing muscles rather than as the main muscles for this movement.
The lunge is what is known as a compound exercise because it uses more than one joint in your body to complete the movement. A close relative to the dumbbell lunge is step-ups to a bench exercise which can also be done using dumbbells and is a great alternative to dumbbell lunges.
There is no doubt about it that doing dumbbell lunges will stress your hamstrings, but you should also make sure that you add a few other different exercises to your training program in order to give your hamstrings a good workout if your main goal is improving the overall size as well as strength in your legs.
There are quite a few other exercises that will target similar muscles in your legs. These exercises include stiff-leg deadlifts, good mornings, glute-hamstring raises, as well as seated leg curls or standing leg curls, walking dumbbell lunges and step-ups.