Lunges are a powerhouse move. Lunges work an incredible range of muscles in the body, and even people with incredibly strong lower limbs can struggle with lunges.
We love to work different types of lunges into class because the reformer provides so many opportunities for lunge variations! With reformer Pilates, we can get all the amazing benefits from lunges, without the boredom that comes from doing the same set of lunges over and over again.
What muscles are involved in lunges?
Lunges engage almost every part of your body from the core, down.
“My favorite exercise is lunges because there are so many ways to add variations and challenges to them. Having a strong lower posterior chain can be very beneficial for your spine!” – RTR Instructor Helena
With proper form, during a lunge, you’ll engage your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core.
The Human Performance Lab at the University of California – Davis explains that lunges are “a multi-joint exercise that is used for injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, and improving sports performance.”
Over time, lunges can strengthen the muscles that protect the hip, knee, and ankle, and improve your balance and core stability.
The benefit of integrating lunges into your Pilates routine
In addition to building up the muscles in your core and lower limbs, lunges are kind of the gift that keeps on giving! Regular lunge exercises will help you:
1. Improve Balance and Stability
Lunges require a lot more coordination than many other exercises that target the lower limbs. During a lunge, your front foot takes the brunt of the load, and you engage your core to stay balanced.
By exercising your lower body unilaterally (on one side), you get to work on each side of your body separately. The single-leg exercise can improve your posture and balance because you are activating your core!
2. Develop your muscles evenly
As we mentioned earlier, lunges are a unilateral exercise. It’s going to affect the forward leg. This is super important because we typically favor one side of our body more than the other. One side is almost always stronger. But in other leg exercises like squats or deadlifts, your dominant side can overcompensate for your weaker side. This means that your weaker side is never forced to develop evenly.
But underdeveloped muscles can cause a bunch of issues! It forces other parts of your body to overcompensate, which causes unnecessary wear and tear, and can increase the risk of injury.
Lunges, on the other hand, ensure that you develop each side of your body evenly. This protects your body, improves posture, and reduces any overcompensation happening in the body.
3. Boost your flexibility and range of motion
Lunges are a fantastic way to boost your hip flexor flexibility and range of motion. Especially for office workers who sit all day, hip flexors need some extra love and attention. Lunges are a great way to work your hip flexors and give them the TLC they need for a full range of motion.
Like most exercises, improper form in lunges can actually increase your risk of injury. In class, our instructors are there to help ensure that you perform exercises safely, and with the proper form! This helps us to ensure you get all of the wonderful benefits of lunges, without straining your hip or your knee.
If you have questions about your form during lunges or any other exercise, always check with your instructor.
“When planning a Pilates class, I always look to incorporate all the muscle groups and create a flow that keeps you moving around the reformer. I hope my clients take away a sense of accomplishment and feeling stronger after class than when they walked in.” – RTR Instructor Dolci
Feel the difference for yourself!
Join our community at RTR Pilates and experience the benefits of lunges firsthand! Get your first month of unlimited classes for just $129.