Dumbbell lunges are easy to perform, but an incorrect execution will cause muscle injuries. Most gym freaks run into a problem of inability to perform dumbbell lunges correctly due to lacking knowledge and guidance. If you plan to hire a gym trainer, it can cost you a fortune. So, this article is a beginners’ guide for how to do dumbbell lunges correctly to avoid muscle injury, which will help you gain muscles and stay fit.
Advantages Of Dumbbell Lunges
According to verywellfit , a simple-looking dumbbell lunge can leave you with several advantages as follows:
· Muscles surrounding the knee and at the front of the thighs (also called quadriceps) strengthen.
· Ensures that the knee cap stays in the proper place and reduces the chance of knee cap dislocation.
· They help improve the body posture.
· Strengthens the body core and increases bone strength.
· It helps perform certain sports activities better, such as cycling, hiking, running, climbing, etc.
· They improve balance and stability.
· Dumbbell lunges help reduce the risk of muscular injuries that may arise due to weak muscles.
· This exercise increases oxygen flow in the body.
· It’s a lightweight exercise that any beginner gym and fitness enthusiast can perform to get started with their fitness regime.
· It helps relax the overall body and makes it suited to lift heavy weight without risking muscles.
Performing Dumbbell Lunges- Step-by-step Guide
Before beginning, warm-up and or pre-workout activities are crucial to eliminating stiff muscles. This will help avoid chances of injuries as well. Warm-up with mild jogging or running or a combination of both. Avoid sprinting as it’ll drain the energy.
Once the body warms up, consider some stretching exercises. This will help overcome any stiffness in the muscles. Avoid extreme stretching, though. Perform some core strengthening activities to strengthen the abdomen. This will help your abdomen to withstand the pressure and force when doing lunges.
Watch this video to get a clear picture of the correct dumbbell lunge execution. Alternatively, follow these steps:
Step 1- The Initial Position
Take the initial position by standing still with dumbbells in both hands. Hold the dumbbells in a hammer grip and keep the palms facing the thighs. Your feet should be apart from each other, a little less than the shoulder’s length. Hands should be straight.
Step 2- Lunge With The Right Leg
Bring the right leg forward to take a step. The stance should be rational- neither too wide nor too shallow. Bend down until the shin bone makes a 90 degrees angle with the foot. Do not bend your back. The left foot should stay in place, and the left knee should be facing the floor. The knee can be a few inches above the floor.
Step 3- Back To The Initial Position
After a few seconds, revert to the initial position. Take a rest for 2-3 seconds to calm down to anxiety.
Step 4- Lunge With The Left Leg
Repeat the lunge, but this time with the left leg. Apply the lunge rules for the right leg on the left leg this time. Repeat these four steps until one set is completed. A set should have 8-12 lunges (both legs making one lunge).
Common Mistakes And Corrective Measures During Dumbbell Lunges Execution
Let’s cover some general mistakes that most fitness freaks make.
1. Incorrect Knee Position
When doing lunges, some people’s knees go past the toes. Ensure that the knees stay straight and don’t go past the toes when bending. When you bend, the shin bone should make a 90 degrees angle concerning the foot.
2. Double Check Lean Position
When leaning, ensure that the back stays straight. The torso should be upright. Failing to do so will cause the backbone to bulge, leading to spinal and neck injuries. If you’re unable to keep the correct posture, consider reducing the dumbbell weight. Once you’re able to achieve the correct posture, you may increase the weight gradually.
3. Rear Knee Misalignment
In the lean position, the knee of the back foot should be facing the floor. Some people bring the knee too close to the floor, while some hardly bend their knees. As a result, you’ll experience knee pain, and the muscles surrounding the back knee will stay weak. If you can’t bend the knee properly, consider doing a shallow lunge, which means spread the legs a little shallow. Once your knee gets comfortable with this exercise, you can widen the legs’ stance.
4. Keep The Stance Rational
As discussed previously, a wide stance means difficulty in bending the knees. On the contrary, keeping the stance too shallow will leave too much emphasis on the knees. The objective of a dumbbell lunge is to train your thighs. So keep the stance rational- neither too shallow nor too wide. To find the correct stance for you, adjust your stance width and find the one that suits you.
Modifications And Variations In Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell lunges are of several types ranging from beginner’s level to pro or advanced level.
Greatist suggests certain dumbbell lunge variations that you can perform to train your body.
Woodchop Lunges (Difficulty: Beginners)
1. Hold one dumbbell with both hands. The initial position should be such a way that the hammer grip (with both the hands) is near the ear of any side (say left).
2. Bend the right leg (if the hammer grip is near the left ear) and bring the dumbbell down towards the front thigh, moving as if chopping a tree.
3. Come back to the initial position and place the hammer grip near the right ear.
4. Bend the left leg this time and bring the dumbbell towards the front thigh.
Biceps Curl Lunges (Difficulty: Beginners)
1. Hold two dumbbells in both hands and stay in the initial lunge position.
2. Perform one regular lunge but this time, lift the dumbbells while bending as if performing a biceps workout.
3. Revert to the original position.
Diagonal Lunges (Difficulty: Beginners)
1. Stand in the initial pose with two dumbbells.
2. Bend one leg but instead of bending forward, bend diagonally.
Walking Lunges (Difficulty: Intermediate)
1. Stand still with two dumbbells in both hands.
2. Bend as if doing a regular lunge.
3. Instead of reverting, take a step forward by bringing the back foot towards the front foot.
This imitates as if walking forward while lunging.
Reverse Walking Lunges (Difficulty: Intermediate)
This is similar to the walking lunges. But here, you need to move backward instead of moving forward.
Lateral Lunges (Difficulty: Intermediate)
1. Hold two dumbbells in the initial pose.
2. Bend down slightly diagonal while keeping the back leg straight and diagonal.
3. While bending, bring the dumbbells towards the front foot on the leg’s either side so that the hands stay straight down. Ensure that the front leg is 90 degrees to the foot.
4. Revert to the original position and repeat by bending the other leg this time.
Curtsy Lunges (Difficulty: Advanced)
1. Hold the dumbbell with both hands in a hammer grip.
2. Bend one leg backward in such a way that both the feet are in a single straight line (as if performing a curtsy).
3. While bending, bring the dumbbell down in front of your chest, turn the upper body diagonally towards the front leg, and keep the arms at 180 degrees.
4. Bring back the back foot to the original stance.
Elevated Foot Lunges (Difficulty: Advanced)
This is done in two ways- elevated front foot and elevated back foot.
The elevated rear foot lunge is performed in this way:
1. Keep a bench behind you far enough and hold two dumbbells in both hands.
2. Lift one leg (say right leg) and place the foot on the bench, bend your left leg and perform a lunge. To execute this correctly, stand away from the bench far enough to stretch the legs rationally.
3. Bring the back foot back near the front foot and repeat with the other foot.
The elevated front foot is done in this way:
1. Stand in front of an object of height 3-4 inches.
2. Perform a regular dumbbell lunge, but the front foot will rest on the object in front this time.
3. Repeat the steps with the other leg.
Find out more advanced dumbbell lunges here .
Mandatory Safety And Precautions Checklist
Follow these precautions and safety checklist to ensure a healthy and beneficial dumbbell lunges session.
· If you’re a first-timer or are too skinny or weak, don’t begin with heavyweights. Newbies and girls are suggested to begin with the lightest weights, where 0.5 Kg dumbbells are no exception. Increase the dumbbell weight as you progress.
· Avoid dumbbells in case of exiting ankle and or pelvic injury.
· If experiencing injury during the workout, consider reducing weight or avoid dumbbells completely.
· People with knee and or hip problems should begin with shallow lunges (narrow legs stretching) and light weight.
· Pregnant women MUST AVOID dumbbell lunges during their third trimester.
Beginners, especially girls, should opt for light weight (0.5Kg or 1Kg ) dumbbells. If that’s too low, switch to 2Kg , 3Kg , or at most 4Kg . When moving to the advanced stage, consider at least 5Kg dumbbells in each hand.
If you’re not willing to buy more dumbbells and still want to increase the training bar, try the weight vest. A 10Kg weighted vest is worn like a regular vest to increase body weight. Alternatively, instead of buying so many dumbbells, consider an adjustable weight kettle where you can adjust the kettle’s weight as required. However, an adjustable weight kettle is held with both hands and may not suit every dumbbell lunge type.
For advanced fitness freaks, weight options include 15Kg , 20Kg , 30Kg , 35Kg (held with both hands), and 50Kg .