Happy Thursday to you,
I hope you are well.
This year has seen our biggest ever crop of vegetables from our garden with a real glut of courgettes (zucchini). We usually have a weekly organic vegetable delivery but over the past 6 weeks we’ve been totally self sufficient.
I love growing my own vegetables and knowing that they haven’t been sprayed with all those ugly chemicals that you cannot wash off.
With only 1 week left of the kettlebell clean challenge things have really ramped up with the introduction of the side lunge and clean. Tricky but fun!
Talking of lunges….
The lunge exercise has to be one of the most diverse and effective exercises that you can perform.
- Develops strong buttocks
- Improves hip mobility
- Strengthens knees
- Improves balance and stability
- Good for cardio
- Great for most sports
Everyone should master the squat exercise before attempting the lunge. Being able to squat will strengthen the knees and hips in preparation for the lunge.
Many people complain that lunges hurt their knees and more often than not this is a strength problem rather than an intrinsic knee issue. Regular squatting will strengthen the knees so lunges are possible.
Once you can squat, you have these lunge options available:
- Reverse lunge
- Forward lunge
- Lunge with rotation
- Side lunge
- Bulgarian lunge
I’ve placed these in order of difficulty for you. There are lots more lunge variations but this is a simple guide.
Practice the lunge with only your bodyweight first before adding a kettlebell. When you can perform 15 bodyweight reverse lunges without a problem then you can add a kettlebell.
Progress your lunges with a kettlebell like this:
- Two hands at chest height
- One hand in the racked position
- Two kettlebells by your sides
- Two kettlebells in the racked position
Once you can lunge, you can cut back on your squats. Lunging is more demanding on the legs and buttocks without the need for excessive weight like the squat.
For example, a set of side lunges are very demanding using only one kettlebell.
If you struggle with toe problems then you can perform Bulgarian lunges with your rear foot elevated and toes pointing backwards.
So I urge everyone to start lunging more for even better results. Master the squat first and then experiment with all those exciting lunge variations.
Got lunge problems? 5 alternatives to lunges
Here’s how I use the lunge in my muscle building program:
- Split squat x 6 reps (3 sets)
- Double front squat x 6 reps (3 sets)
- Side lunge x 6 reps (3 sets)
The split squat exercise is another name for the static lunge, so the feet stay in a lunge position and do not move as you go up and down.
For the muscle building program you perform each exercise 3 times before moving on to the next exercise. The workouts are performed this way purely because this is a muscle building program and I want to overload the movement.
This particular workout uses 2 kettlebells for exercises 1 and 2 and a single kettlebell for exercise 3.
This week I got asked the following question:
Q. “I’m doing 10 minute swings, what is the best work to rest ratio?”
A. Swinging a kettlebell for 10 minutes has become popular ever since Pavel’s book: Simple and Sinister.
My advice would be to set your timer for 10 minutes and then perform as many sets of 10 reps as you can, like this:
- Swing x 10 reps
- Repeat for 10 minutes
You have a few options when it comes to how long you should rest:
- Wait until your breathing slows and you are ready for the next set
- Rest for 30 seconds and try to reduce this by 5 seconds every few workouts
- Allow only 5 – 15 deep breaths before the next set
Whichever option you choose try to make progress every few workouts. Don’t be in a hurry to add more weight, progress from two hands to one hand first.
I hope this helps.
P.S. Have you tried my new website workout generator tool?