Lunges split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the more popular lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s explore some of the benefits of lunges, common faults, and popular variations, so you never miss a lunge day again!
Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. The movement is generally defined as a split-legged stance with one foot planted in front of the body and the other extended behind the body. The athlete can raise or lower their body from this position while stepping forward to the lead leg or returning to the rear leg. Lunges require leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. They can be performed as a bodyweight movement, under an external load, or explosively as a plyometric exercise. There are an incredible number of ways to perform this exercise. Depending on your goals, there are many ways that training lunges can be beneficial.
If you want to improve balance and coordination, you could train lunges with a loading pattern that increases the demand for midline stability. Lunges performed with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell or kettlebell loading one side of the body will achieve this. Due to the stabilization and core strength required to complete a lunge variation, there is a vast transfer and application to sports and life. Ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement pattern (AKA ask the coach if you’re not sure)!
Select lunge variations that allow for more significant external loading to develop greater strength and enhance muscle growth. A reverse lunge is a popular option as it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form and engagement of the posterior chain. Reverse lunges can be performed with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell in the back rack position to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep most of the load in the front leg as you move. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor, allowing the knee to kiss, not crash into, the ground.
The Bulgarian split squat or Bulgarian lunge is an excellent choice to prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances. This exercise is performed by working one lead leg at a time with the rear foot on a platform 4-6 inches higher than the lead working leg. This movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is more significant for activating the gluteus muscles. A popular loading pattern for this lunge is with dumbbells held in suitcase fashion. Make sure to select the appropriate box height to elevate the rear leg to prevent the spine from hyperextending at the end range of motion. Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.
If you want to learn more about the best training movements, discuss your goals with one of our coaches!
This soup is a modified ancient recipe to be vegan and still has beneficial properties.
One pound of baby bok choy washed and separated (cut any large leaves in half) (the grocery was all out of baby bok choy, so I got two sizeable bok choy bunches and cut them in half, horizontally and vertically)
- 4 ounces of vermicelli rice noodles (1 large package seemed to work perfectly)
- 3 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I used a whole box)
- One medium garlic clove, finely chopped (I put in 4 cloves to up the immune boosting capabilities, and because I love garlic!)
- One teaspoon of fresh ginger, finely chopped (I used two medium-sized nodes)
- Four slices of sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
- 4 cups of vegetable broth (I like the Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock)
- Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon (I used bottled organic lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil (I used a blend of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, the coconut oil is sourced from the Philippines and benefits local farmers)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Season with salt and pepper
- Place a large (12 – 14″) deep sauté pan over medium/high heat.
- Add oil and heat it until hot but not smoking.
- Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes or until they begin to have some color.
- Add bok choy and cook just until they begin to wilt.
- Add chopped garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until the garlic begins to have some color (a minute or less).
- Add the broth, the lemon, and the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more until fragrant and the broth begins to bubble.
- Add the rice noodles and cook until soft but still a bit firm.
- Season and serve and Enjoy your legendary Happy Soup!
You can use almost any bean, I prefer pink or red, but I’ve seen this done before with black or white beans. (This is not the traditional method, but it works very well for the refried novice)
1) Soak Beans in Water for 24 hours
2) Rinse and thoroughly wash soaked beans
3) Saute a whole bulb of Garlic & Onion in a pressure cooker Adding garlic 5 minutes after the onion.
4) Add Beans, 3 bay leaves, and ample water. Pressure Cook for 45 minutes (can also slow cook or use a very large cooking pot)
5) After Cooked Fully, Strain the Beans
6) Pan Fry in a large saute pan till desired crispness or lack thereof. Crush beans to desired firmness as well. Enjoy your Vegan Refried Beans!
1 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. almonds
3/4 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. almond butter
3/4 c. coconut milk
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar divided
2 c. cashews (soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed)
1/2 c. refined coconut oil, melted, plus more for the pan
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 (8-oz.) container of vegan cream cheese
3 c. fresh or frozen raspberries, divided
- Make the crust: Pulse oats, almonds, and coconut flakes in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in maple syrup, salt, and almond butter.
- Grease the bottom of an 8″ or 9” spring form pan with coconut oil and press the crust evenly into the bottom.
- Make the filling: In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix coconut milk and ¾ cup sugar and heat just until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
- In a high-powered blender, blend soaked cashews, cooled coconut milk mixture, coconut oil, and vanilla until thick and smooth. Blend in vegan cream cheese.
- Pour the filling mixture into the crust and chill in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Make the fruit topping: Bring 2 cups raspberries and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a low boil over medium heat and continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then fold in the remaining 1 cup of berries.
- Assemble the cake: Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and let thaw at room temperature for 1 hour before spooning raspberry topping all over the cake.
Recipe by Cory Lucid
Assisted by Karina Lucid
1 cup almond flour, finely ground
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2.5 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon maple syrupMix the almond flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt with a fork in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then add in the coconut oil and agave nectar until well combined. The mixture should be like a thick paste.Pudding:
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1 ripe avocado
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
2/3 cup raw cacao
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Other Directions: Open the can of coconut milk upside down and separate the liquid from the cream. Scoop out the cream into a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend to creamy, delicious, wonderfulness!!!