Three Common Mistakes That Are Making Your Lunges Less Effective

Lunges are a popular workout and dynamic exercise — and for good reason. They're a simple and effective lower body workout that can help tone and strengthen the muscles in your core and legs. Not to mention, lunges are also fairly accessible (via Outside). Since they can be done from anywhere, you don't need to have a gym membership or purchase expensive equipment to do them at home. The one downside to lunges, however, is that they are often performed incorrectly.

According to Kathleen Stabler, a certified instructor, lunges are commonly done with bad form, which can make them less effective and actually increase the potential for injury. "Really strong people can be really terrible at lunges," Stabler told Outside. "The movement is actually very complex, and the potential for injury is high." As a result, it's important to know how to perform lunges the right way so you don't accidentally injure yourself.

What to avoid when performing lunges

According to Well+Good, one of the most common mistakes people make when lunging is leaning forward too much. As it turns out, leaning too far forward can actually throw your body off balance, causing your front leg to bear most of your weight. In order to perform a safe and effective lunge, your torso should remain upright so your weight is evenly distributed between both feet. You should also try to avoid tilting your pelvis when lunging. This can create "crunching in our low back," yoga instructor and trainer Pilin Anice told Well+Good.

That's why Anice recommends engaging your core to help protect your spine and back while also preventing your pelvis from curving. Another common mistake people tend to make is lifting their shoulders up when extending their arms. This can create unnecessary tension in your neck and shoulders. Instead, it's best to drop your shoulders so your neck and back stay relaxed.