November 07, 2021 8 min read
The secret to getting your hamstrings, quads and glutes strong and muscular?
Simple, two words: barbell lunges.
We all get accustomed to our regular workout routines, incorporating the same couple of exercises on rotation, which can lead to our muscles reaching a growth plateau. It’s important to incorporate variety in your strength training routine to always challenge yourself both mentally and physically.
A barbell lunge is a great movement that not only works those lower-body muscles, but also takes a focus on your core stability, hip mobility and muscular balance. All you need is a barbell, some weights and your strength. Let’s go on ahead and get started.
A barbell lunge is an incredible compound exercise that uses numerous muscle groups at one time. This is great as it can be incorporated in a variety of different training programs but different variables may need to be adjusted in order for the exercise to lead you to your goals. Barbell lunges are a unilateral exercise that helps with full-body coordination.
Adding weight through the use of a barbell increases the tension placed on the muscles which overall develops strength in the lower body. We recommend performing different variations such as the front lunge, reverse lunge or walking lunge with only your body weight when you are first starting out the movement, then when you have mastered your form, add in the weight of a barbell.
Through increased activation in the lower body muscles such as the legs and glutes, the barbell lunge strengthens the muscle fibers in the muscles. The movement can address weakness in the glutes as well strengthen the muscle groups involved in the movement.
The glutes are an extremely powerful muscle group that should not be neglected as they contribute to power output, back pain prevention and speed enhancement. By strengthening these lower body muscle groups, you are building the building blocks for increased muscle firing, hypertrophy as well as enhanced overall fitness performance.
The lunge is a great movement to more closely target the lower body muscles. Studies have shown that performing unilateral movements like lunges, which involve targeting one side of the body at a time, can lead to more powerful muscular contractions. This is due to the fact that one side of your body is carrying more weight in comparison to a traditional movement such as a squat.
The lunge is also great as it is a compound exercise, meaning it involves a variety of muscles in order to perform the movement. Therefore, you are increasing your overall caloric expenditure which can lead to fat-loss and weight-loss if that is your goal.
Not only do barbell lunges target those lower body muscles, but they also strengthen those core muscles which are in charge of providing your body with more stability. Balance, stability and coordination are amongst the most important components of exercise that many people seem to neglect. Since lunges are a unilateral exercise, it is important to take the time to stabilize the leg, glute and core muscles to keep you balanced and upright.
Not only does the movement improve your lower body muscles, but it will drastically improve your overall stability that are crucial for day-to-day activities. Balance takes a lot of mental focus which is great when you are using exercise as a form of therapy to get your mind off of all the stress our daily lives presents us with.
Poor balance and stability are the cause of a lot of injuries simply due to muscle imbalances and by taking the time to incorporate exercises like barbell lunges into your routine, you decrease your chance of injury and challenge your balance both physically and mentally.
Balance exercises have become more widely used in different sports training programs, fall prevention programs and rehabilitation programs and it is all due to the fact that there are endless benefits associated with improving balance and stability.
A systematic review found that the incorporation of balance training can be effective for improving postural control.as well as injury prevention.
If you’ve learned anything on your fitness journey, whether you’re a novice trainer or a hardcore bodybuilder, it is the importance of warming up. A warm-up is extremely important on both a physical level and a mental level. By warming up your muscles, you are preparing your body, your muscles and your mind for the activity that is about to occur.
An effective warm up can increase flexibility, lower your risk of injury, increase your blood flow and oxygen, increase range of motion and overall, improve your performance. Since barbell lunges focus more on the lower body, let’s take a look at some good lower body activation exercises that will maximize your workout.
As mentioned previously, if you find yourself sinking to one side during your lunges, it may be a sign that your hip flexors are tight.
A reverse lunge is quite similar to a traditional forward lunge but it is a regression as it provides you with more stability in your front leg. You can perform this warm up with either your body weight or with additional weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells.
A barbell lunge is a great progression to the traditional front lunge. It is important that you engage all your muscles while performing this exercise as placing extra weight on your body can be dangerous if the movement is not performed with coordination. We recommend doing one set with body weight, or if you are more advanced, start off your first set with just the weight of the barbell to ensure that your form is correct.
Lunges are such a great exercise as there are so many different alternatives that can lead to great results. A barbell lunge is a great lower body exercise that targets a variety of muscles and does not require much equipment. All it needs is you, a barbell and a safe working space.
Regardless of what alternative you perform, It is crucial that when performing this movement you focus on proper form. You do not want to round your upper back as this can compromise your spine and lead to back injury. To prevent possible complications or injury, bring your awareness to keeping your back straight and your chest upright.
If you enjoyed this leg exercise and would like to continue working on those lower body gains, check out this article on the best exercises for a lower body blasting workout.