Feel the Burn: Lunges for All Seasons -The Toast

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Previous installments of “Feel the Burn” can be found here. Most recently, we talked about posture, and getting some. Posture, we mean.

Hi gang! Missed you! We’ve been starting to film our videos so you won’t be stuck with other people’s YouTube visuals for long! In store for you: pull-up videos, buddy-comedy videos (a bunch of funny, dorky moves you can ONLY do with a friend, trust me), it’s-a-weird-time-of-day-so-you-have-the-place-to-yourself-and-can-do-weirder-things-with-the-gear videos (a personal favourite), a bunch of great, basic workouts, videos of awful things you can do to your abs, etc. And we’d love to hear what else you’d like to see in a misandrist workout video, too. Aurora (my buffness idol) and I are happy to try anything once.

Now, today, we’re talking about…

“Lunges: less unpleasant than squats.” – Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians

Ah, lunges. As many different kinds as the stars in the sky (we’re going to talk about EIGHT different kinds.) I thought we’d talk about lunges before squats, because, as the Apostle Paul said, they are very slightly less unpleasant, and it is harder (though not impossible!) to mess them up. They are also excellent for you, and I have a bunch of advice on how to a) do them correctly, and b) keep them interesting. They are also a wonderful no-gear exercise that can LITERALLY be done anywhere, including your gate at the airport or in a line to use the ladies’ room, if you were born without a sense of shame.

Let’s start with Lunge Classic, shall we? There are so few rules.

Rule the First: Do not let your front knee extend over your toes (easiest way to do this is to focus on letting your BACK knee sink faster than you’re bending your front knee, it really works).

Rule the Second: Keep your upper body upright and straight (if you think about sitting BACK as you sink down, you’ll stay pretty straight, which is in keeping with many, many physical activies where you’re naturally inclined to lean forward.)

Rule the Third: Take a big enough step.

Rule the Fourth: Do not fall over.

Here’s a video. I picked this one because this dude is earnest as balls, and I love it.

Reverse Lunges are something I personally prefer, but you may need to work on your balance a bit first with Lunge Classic to feel comfortable stepping that leg behind you. What I like about reverse lunges is how much harder it is to push your front knee out too far, since you start with your front leg in the correct position and move everything ELSE back. This video is good, just pretend she’s not holding weight (or hold some weight, but we’ll get to that variant later!)

Walking Lunges. You are in a hallway, or any longish place. Do a Lunge Classic. As you come up out of it, step your back foot alllllll the way forward until it becomes your front foot. Lunge again. Now switch. Go until you hit an obstacle you didn’t notice because you were so fucking tranced out by doing lunges. Feel your heart begging to escape your body. Ignore it (don’t ignore it, listen to the signals of your body!), turn around, come back doing the same thing. I guess you could do reverse walking lunges, if you wanted to, but you didn’t hear it from me. (Video guy is adorable.)

Lunges While Holding Weight. You don’t really need a visual for this, just…hold some weight. You can either hold a single dumbbell (or 2 litre of Coke, whatever) in front of your body, to your chest, or a weight in each hand. Don’t let the weight pull you forward, you’ll want to concentrate harding on keeping your upper body upright as you sink down. From your upper body’s point of view, a good lunge should feel like you are slowly sinking into an abyss that has opened up beneath you that is exactly the diameter of your torso.

Okay, the next three are for when you’re feeling pretty solid with your lunges.

Jumping Lunges. Not your best bet if you’re a heavier person, or if you have joint stuff, but if you do not have those issues, and focus your attention on landing softly, like a goddamn CAT, this will both blast your quads AND send your cardio through the roof. I absolutely hate/love jumping lunges. Promise me you won’t start flinging your front knee out too far when you start to get tired, though. (Girlfriend in this video has fabulous thighs, by the way, and I like to pretend the clinical distance between the coach and the athlete masks a lot of sexual tension.)

Sliding Lunges. One of my all-time favourite pieces of gym equipment: sliding disks. This exercise is basically just walking lunges, but instead of walking, you put one foot on each sliding disk, and you just…glide forward, lunging as you go. It adds stability work, you get a nice flow going. Hold some weights while you do it, and, man, you’ve got a stew going! You can also do them without going anywhere, just standing in place and sliding your front foot forward, lunging, pulling it back, putting your other foot forward, lunging, pulling it back…

Lunges On a Wobbly Thing. Oh, these are a lot of fun! They work best with Reverse Lunges, I find. Use a Bosu ball, almost all gyms have one. Or buy one (they cost a fortune, though!) They’re dynamite, I do billions of things with them. Here’s a really good guide to this move. And, of course, you can grab weights while you do it. I also like doing this move with the Bosu flipped over, so your foot is on the flat side. The trick to making that variation really work for you? Try to  keep the flat surface parallel to the ground as you do the lunge, it takes a ton of stability to keep it from tilting!

Side Lunges on Two Wobbly Things. You’ve got this. And, if you don’t, just skip the wobbly things part!


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