Is the barbell squat hurting your lower back?
Learn how lunge exercises can build your body safely.
Leg work is a key requirement when building your body - and for most, effective leg work begins and ends with the traditional barbell squat.
But what if this proven muscle builder is causing you lower back agony?
Here is where lunges rush to your rescue, by providing a safe and effective alternative for those trainees unable to squat.
Photo courtesy of ketrin1407
So what makes the lunge such a master movement, and why should you consider making it the cornerstone of your abbreviated workout?
Check out these lunge benefits:
For most, this movement is lower back friendly, as the lunges exercise - in all its variations - removes many of the physical stresses commonly attributed to the traditional barbell squat.
How does this happen?
Holding the back in a vertical line not only encourages improved posture, but also permits the trainee to exhaust the legs before the lower back reaches a point of muscular fatigue. This means the lower back no longer becomes an issue or weak link as regularly happens in the squat, thereby allowing the lower limbs to be exercised thoroughly.
Want to know how to do a lunge? Let's take a look at this master movement in greater detail:
Start with your feet next to one another, hands by your side, with your stomach muscles gently pulled in.
With your back straight, step forward approximately 2 feet with your leading leg and bend both knees until the back knee is 6 inches from the floor.
2. Push off.
Keeping your weight evenly distributed on both legs, "push-off" with the leading leg returning to the starting position.
Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Legs and dumbbells.
Experiment with leg spacing: a longer stance typically works the hamstrings and buttocks, while a shorter stance works the thighs and your balance.
Use dumbbells instead of the traditional barbell for your lunges. This makes your training even more lower back friendly and works your shoulders in addition to your arms and upper back.
4. Lunge experiments.
Want an alternative? Perform rear lunges by stepping backwards, or substitute resistance bands or sandbags for dumbbells.
For greater difficulty, exercise each leg for your full range of repetitions BEFORE swapping legs.
If the barbell squat is hurting your lower back, then why not try making lunge exercises the cornerstone of your abbreviated workout? Not only will this master movement safeguard your lower back, but it will allow you to build your body safely.
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