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What Are Dumbbell Lunges?

A woman doing a dumbbell lunge.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Reed
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Dumbbell lunges are a type of workout that exercises different muscles in the legs and thighs, using a combination of weights and a lunge exercise move. Front lunges, back lunges, and side lunges are all used to work the muscles and increase strength. Lunges are used for strength training as well as improving flexibility. The weight of each dumbbell should be only as much as the person can comfortably lift, or none at all. After working out for some time, she can gradually increase the weight to the goal amount.

The basic front lunge is performed by a person standing with the feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. She should step forward a few feet with one foot and slowly lower the back knee to the floor. The body should lower down, not press forward. If the knee stretches out past the toes of the foot, then the person is either not stepping out far enough or not lowering her body toward the floor properly. She should raise up from this position after a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.

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The back lunge works the same way; however, instead of stepping forward, the person steps back with one foot. This works a different set of muscles and using an equal number of both front and back lunges on each leg will tone all the muscles in the lower body. The side lunge is slightly different. To perform side dumbbell lunges, the person steps to the side with one leg so that the leg is straight, and lowers the body toward the floor slightly while raising both dumbbells just above the hips.

Many different muscles are worked during dumbbell lunges. The quadriceps, also known as the thigh muscles; the backside; and the hamstrings are all stretched and toned. The hip muscles also receive a vigorous workout. The advantage to the dumbbell lunges over other leg exercises include the fact that they work both legs equally and increase overall core stability in the body.

It's important for an exerciser to stretch before performing the dumbbell lunges. She should pay special attention to the leg muscles to avoid pulling a muscle during the lunge. Those who wish to work the muscles in the backside should go with longer lunges, while those interested in working the thigh muscles should use shorter lunges. A combination of lunges will create a well-toned set of muscles in all areas of the legs, thighs, and backside.

When performing the lunge, she should concentrate on keeping the shoulders down and the chest upright. The knee and foot should point in the same direction and bending should be a smooth motion. Beginners may wish to hold onto a chair for support and perform the exercise without any weights until they are more comfortable with the move.

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