Gardener’s Lunge Exercise
As we jump into the marathon spring gardening sessions, are there any gardeners out there who spend a lot of time bending over at the waist? I’m here to make sure you STOP bending at the waist and use the strength of your legs! Let’s get more familiar with strengthening and using those legs.
Lunges are a great exercise for the entire lower body. Several muscles are used to stabilize and assist throughout the range of motion, but the prime muscle groups worked are the quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the upper leg), hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the upper leg), and gluteals (buns of steel).
Tips to Perform the Perfect Lunge
- Find a gorgeous open outdoor space!
- Exhale on exertion each time you stand up
- Imagine you are balancing a book on your head throughout the range of motion, keep your body under control
- I recommend stepping back as you perform beginner lunges so the knee is protected
- Be sure to keep the knee over the ankle, do not allow the knee to shift past the toes
- Keep a straight spine and do not lean over
- Avoid placing weight in the front toes, push through the heels
- Do not hold dumbbells while performing the advanced split jumps
- Consult with your physician before performing this or any other exercise
Beginner: Standing Reverse Lunges
Begin standing with feet together. Take a big step backward with the right leg and remain on your back toe. The front left knee should be bent 90 degrees, do not allow the knee to go over the toes! Lower down until the back knee comes close to the ground. Pull yourself back up with the strength of the front leg and avoid pushing off the back toe. Switch sides. Alternate for a total of 20 repetitions x 3
Intermediate: Walking Lunges
Begin standing with feet together. Take a big step forward, keeping your front knee behind the ankle! Imagine lunging STRAIGHT DOWN as opposed to lunging forward, then use the strength of your front leg to pull you up. Alternate for a total of 20 steps x 3.
Advanced: Split Jumps
Begin standing with feet together. Carefully hop up and land in the same lunge position described above. Do not allow the knee to touch the ground. Focusing on the front heel, press yourself up, hop and switch to the other side. Alternate for a total of 12 repetitions x 3
Concentrate on using those strong LEGS while working in the garden and always avoid bending at the waist. Get growing!