Bulgarian Lunges

If performing the classic lunges is not difficult for you any more, you can try to increase the intensity and load on muscles by using additional pillars of 30-40cm height. This will allow you to go down lower, which will help to stretch your hip and buttock muscles better, and work on them with bigger amplitude.
What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand backwards to the pillar on 50-70cm distance. Put the rear side of one leg on the pillar, move the bodyweight on the front leg (photo 1). You can put your hands on waist or on base leg’s hip. Hold the body straight, start to go down by bending the base leg in knee and hip. At the moment when you touch the floor with your rear leg’s hip (photo 2), make one second pause and go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the other leg.
Bulgarian lunges (starting position)Bulgarian lunges (final position)
Notice: use a stable stand or put it tightly to the wall to prevent slipper. Choose the distance to the pillar, so that in lower position your base leg’s knee was not out your toes level. It is not necessary to put the whole foot on the pillar, to hold on a little with fingers will be enough. The main part of bodyweight should be on base leg’s heel. If you hold your hands on the base leg’s hip, avoid the seduction to help yourself with hands at the lower point – this exercise is for leg muscles. Try not to lean forward, this will increase the load on the weaker knee joint and may lead to painful experience. Always start the exercise from the weaker leg, because even inactive leg gets the load, its muscles stretch, which weakens them. If you exercise barefoot – use a pillar with soft cover. It is preferably to put something soft under your rear leg’s knee (like bent towel), to prevent hitting the floor.
With time you will do easily even this quite difficult variation of lunges. If you are aiming to constant physical improvement and can easily do 20 bulgarian lunges with perfect technique – try to increase the load by putting both legs on pillar (photo 3). For the front leg use 20-30cm pillar, for the rear – under 50cm one. In this case you can go down way lower (photo 4), but increase the depth gradually, or you can’t prevent the hyperextension of muscles, which leads to painful experience (especially on the next morning). Main requirements to the exercise stay the same: back straight, main weight on front leg, going up and down slowly (about 2 seconds), at the lower point hold on for one second. Breathe on movement rhythm: go down – inhale, go up – exhale.
Bulgarian lunges on two pillars (starting position)Bulgarian lunges on two pillars (final position)
When mastered the technique of all the lunges, proposed here, include another leg exercises to your program – for example different kinds of squats.

Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

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