Lunges are fantastic exercises that involve the glutes, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors - all vital muscles to hill-climbing. There are many varieties of lunges: walking, isometric, static, alternating, plyometric, to name a few. They can be hard on the knees so proper form is a must or else you will do more damage than good. You can do lunges anywhere with your own body weight: as you travel, in front of your TV (this does require getting up off of the couch, however!), as you talk on the phone, etc. etc.
Just as with the basic squat from last week's tip, the proper form includes the knee staying over the ankle and hips and knees staying on the same plane.
Static Lunge: (any skill level) No additional movement once you get into lunge position; simply hold the position for 10 seconds, return to start position. Repeat 5 times per leg.
|Basic lunge (courtesy Google images)|
Walking Lunge: (moderate skill level) Check out this excellent Livestrong video that demonstrates a variety of lunges, starting with the walking lunge. These are the ones that I prefer and do without weights from time to time. http://www.livestrong.com/video/1493-do-walking-lunges/
Plyometric Lunge: (advanced skill - not for those with knee or back problems). Hit the lunge position, hold for 3 seconds, then jump, switching legs and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 lunges.
|Plyometric Lunges (couresy Google images)|
By incorporating any of these lunge variations into your work outs each week, you will begin to see improvement in your hill climbing capabilities and strength. These are no substitute for doing the actual work on the hills, however, so don't fool yourself. As with anything in life, you have to put in the time for it to be worthwhile. There are many other varieties not mentioned here but these three basic ones will indeed strengthen all of the vital muscles used in getting to the top of the hills. Pick one and give it a try for a month: I dare you!
Feel free to share any other variety of lunge with our readers. What is your favorite kind of lunge and why?