Weighted lunges are a highly effective lower body exercise that not only strengthens muscles, but also engages stabilizing muscles and improves balance. Although body weight lunges are appropriate for beginners, advanced athletes should add various types of weight for an added challenge. Weighted lunges can be performed a variety of different ways in order to avoid muscle complacency.
Dumbbell Weighted Lunge
A basic weighted lunge can be performed with one dumbbell in each hand, hanging along either side of the body. Using the same principles as a body weight lunge, step forward slowly with one foot. This is where a weighted lunge will feel different than a body weight lunge. Your weight distribution is different, forcing your body to stabilize as you step forward. You will be unable to correct your balance with your arms, so when performing a weighted lunge, it is critical to keep your core tight and take slow, controlled movements.
Bend the front knee to approximately 90 degrees. The length of the step is key, as your front knee should not pass your toes. If you find your knee passing your toes, a longer step is necessary to avoid knee strain. Once your knee is bent to about 90 degrees, thigh parallel to the floor, push up and back to bring your front leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Dumbbells can also be rested on each side of the trapezius muscles during this weighted lunge. This position of the weight forces your posture to be perpendicular to the floor. If balance is an issue, this may be a better option as the weight is closer to your body with less room for extra movement.
Medicine Ball Weighted Lunge
Another weighted lunge option is to hold a medicine ball close to your chest. Since the weight in this exercise is concentrated in front of your body, it will feel much different than the basic dumbbell weighted lunges. This option still requires the core to be activated, while also adding extra weight to your lunge.
Weighted Bar Lunge
A long, weighted bar is an advanced option that requires a great deal of balance. Since the weight is extending far from the sides of your body, it requires careful stabilization while lunging.
Weighted lunges are a great tool when body weight lunge has been mastered. Weight can be added in a variety of challenging ways that add weight to your lower body lunge, while also requiring your core to stabilize the motion. Adding weighted lunges to your lower body exercise routine will provide noticeable benefits.