Want to know of a trick of mine to build muscle and burn more fat in the Lower Body?
As you know, I support the view that strength training is the best way to lose weight, fat and build a healthy fit body.
However, in some conditions, one may not be able to lift very heavy weights. This does not mean that you need to stop working out all together. With combo moves, where two to three exercise are completed back to back, time under tension increases and thus the training effect is still the same for the muscles.
I am currently testing out different combinations and investigating their effect on my workouts. Today, I will share my favorite combo moves with Lunges. I have used these in the past months and have found them quite effective and fun!
Lunge Combo Moves
It is best to use these combo moves at the beginning of your workout.
With these combination moves, time under tension will increase significantly. This does not mean that it is aerobic training, much more that the end-products of metabolic pathways will accumulate much more quickly and cause your muscles to burn, even with lighter weights. The reason for this is the build-up of lactic acid.
If you have read my articles on muscle activation, you already know that before lifting heavy, it is crucial to establish a strong neural connection between the brain and the muscles. Using less weights and burning out the muscles is one way to increase the stimulus and strengthen the neural pathways.
For these combo moves, you will be using one weight and complete all repetitions on one side and then on the next. Resting time between sets is limited. Thus, this is perfect for anyone trying to lose weight and/or fat or build muscle in the legs.
I’m sure this technique can be used on the Upper Body muscles too, but I do not want to write about anything I haven’t tried out myself yet. Maybe I will include Upper Body combinations in the future.
1. Reverse Lunge to Static Lunge
This is probably one of my favorite combinations I use in almost every Lower Body workout.
Tips for Execution:
- Stand up straight with dumbbells in each hand or one dumbbell held in front if your body (Goblet Position). Contract your Core and slightly tilt your pelvis posteriorly by squeezing your Glutes, as if there was a pencil between the muscles.
- Keeping the contraction in your core, step one foot back. Make sure that your weight is distributed evenly between the front and back leg. Your front knee should not go past your front toes. Sink deep into your hips, like you would in a squat.
- Keep both Glutes contracted the whole time. Only go down in the Lunge as much as you can control. The moment you loose contraction and start to lose balance, you need to use lighter weights and/ or do more of a shallow lunge.
- Keeping your weight in your front heel, push-off from your front foot to straighten your front leg. This is basically a static position Lunge. The back leg position does not change.
- Now lower your body again into the lunge position.
- Again, push-off from your front heel and this time come back up to the standing position. When you are at the top, squeeze your Glutes and Core really hard and then immediately step your foot back again for the second repetition.
You should not feel this exercise primarily in your quadriceps. If that is the case, I recommend you to do my Glute Activation routine. This exercise, if done correctly, will burn in the lower part of the glutes and the hamstrings.
I like this variation because Lunges build pelvic stability. Single-legged exercises are great to decrease muscle imbalances and force your body to only work with one limb at a time. You will be breathing heavy with this exercise, as it is very metabolically demanding.
2. Reverse Lunge to Curtsy Lunge
This combination again includes the Reverse Lunge but this time, we add in a Curtsy Lunge. This will activate the side glute muscle, gluteus medius, to a higher degree than a normal Lunge.
Tips for Execution:
- All tips for a regular Reverse Lunge apply here. Stand up straight, weights in both hands by your sides. Contract your core and slightly tilt your pelvis posteriorly.
- Breathe in as you step back into the Reverse Lunge. Make sure to have control over your body the whole time. This movement is slow and you should never lose contraction of the muscles, especially your glutes and core.
- Breathe out as you step back up and push through your front food heel. At the top, squeeze your glutes.
- Immediately step back again, this time into a Curtsy Lunge. Try to evenly distribute your weight between the front and back leg and keep the contraction in your glutes and core.
- You should feel a stretch in the side part of your glute muscle of the front leg.
- Breathe out as you step back up. Push through your front foot heel and try not to out any force on the back leg.
- This is one repetition. Again, squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles at the top and then step back again for the next Reverse Lunge.
3. Curtsy Lunge to Goblet Squat
If you have trouble feeling the Squat in your Glutes, this combo move will help you to activate the glutes more.
- Stand up straight, core contracted and pelvis tilted slightly posteriorly.
- Step back as you Breathe in into a Curtsy Lunge. Sink deep into the front leg’s glutes and feel the stretch.
- Push back up as you Breathe out and push through your front foot heel.
- Now take a step to the side and do one repetition of a Goblet Squat.
- You can hold the weights on your sides or in a goblet position (in front of your body). Make sure to keep your weight in your heels and contract your abdominal muscles as tight as you can.
- Only sink down into the Squat as is comfortable for your knee and hip-joints. Also, make sure to feel the contraction in your glutes the whole time.
- Come back up from the squat by pushing through your heels. At the top, breathe out and squeeze your glutes and core.
- Immediately step back into a Curtsy Lunge on the same leg. You will complete all repetitions on one leg before switching to the other side.
I recommend 8-10 repetitions for each side on this exercise. Of course, this depends on the weight you are using. In total, you will complete 8-10 repetitions of the Curtsy Lunge for each leg and 16-20 repetitions for the Squat.
4. Reverse Lunge to Romanian Deadlift
If you have trouble activating your Glutes and Hamstrings properly during the Deadlift, this combination move will be very useful. Make sure not to use much weight, focus on the muscle contraction instead.
- Complete one Repetition of a Reverse Lunge, as I have explained above.
- After you have come up, take one step to the side.
- Contract your Core and Glutes and slightly shift your weight to your heals.
- Hinge back with your hips as you would in a Romanian Deadlift.
- Keep your neck position neutral, don’t look down.
- Keep the contraction in your core and glutes the whole time. As soon as you feel a slight stretch in your glutes and hamstrings, push back up.
- As you are coming up, breathe out and push through your heels. Also, to increase activation of the Gluteus Medius, pretend like you want to tear apart the ground.
- At the top, squeeze your Glutes and Abdominal muscles again and immediately step back to the Reverse Lunge again.
- You will complete all repetitions on one side of the body and then switch to the other
Again, I recommend to use 8-10 repetitions for each side with this exercise. Make sure to use a light weight, as you will have completed 20 repetitions of Deadlifts total.
5. Reverse Lunge to Single-legged Deadlift
This is one of my favorite combination moves. As I am trying to decrease muscle imbalances, this exercise combo challenges one limb at a time and forces your body to only use that side to complete the motion. Again, make sure you use a light weight.
The single-legged Deadlift has many benefits I will address in a future post. It is great to improve core and pelvis stability and activation of the glutes and hamstrings. It also improves balance and is a functional movement. This means that it has its benefits in real life too. I’m sure you bend over a lot to pick something up from the ground. That is basically a Deadlift. Doing this exercise will prevent back injuries and decrease pressure on the spine as you bend over.
- The same rules for a Reverse Lunge apply here as well. Complete one repetition of a Reverse Lunge.
- After you have come back up, keep your weight on the front foot. Contract your glutes and core, keep the weights close to your sides, as in a traditional Deadlift.
- Now slowly hinge back until you feel a slight stretch in your Glute and Hamstring of the front foot.
- The back leg should be complete straight and the back Glute should be contracted as well. This will help with balance.
- Make sure that you do not raise your back leg too much. You should not hyperextend your lower back. It should be straight and tensed the whole time.
- Shift your weight to your front foot heel and push back up, feeling the contraction in your Glutes, especially the Gluteus medius and maximus and your Hamstrings.
- At the top, squeeze your Glutes and Abdominal Muscles.
With the Single-legged Deadlift, your body should be parallel to the ground at all times. This exercise works your entire abdominal muscles, especially the deep transverse abdominis and the side muscles, obliques.
Complete 10 repetitions on each leg for the Reverse Lunge and the Single-legged Deadlift.
I hope you find these exercise variations useful. I like to challenge my body with new movements in almost every workout. This strengthens the neural pathways and makes fitness much more fun.
Let me know if you liked this combo moves! Do you have any favorite exercise combinations with a Lunge?
If you liked this, leave me a comment and share the knowledge.
Have a wonderful day!