Welcome again to “I Click It,” where I get past a confusing headline designed to make you view a page that may be useful or crap. Today we return to Men’s Health, where today I found this waiting for me:
Hmm, a new way to use a barbell? Perhaps as a weapon in some new Mixed Martial Art? Maybe a very sturdy but short flagpole? Then again, there are a few gym rats whom I’ve wanted to show a new way to use a…but I digress. I was intrigued. So let’s see what we got:
It’s a dumbbell lunge, but you put a barbell in front of you so you’re forced to step over it. Which…pretty much does nothing to help.
The problem here is that if you’re using the proper form in your lunge, with your back knee just touching the ground, you’re going to take a very uniform step. Putting an obstacle in front of you to step over won’t really change that—with one exception they don’t show you in the above drawing: you’re going to need to kind of kick your front foot out on each step, making you look a little bit like a Monty Python character but not really changing the benefit you get from the exercise.
Then when you push back up, you’ll have to kick it out again, which may have a benefit but may just make you lose your balance. The theory as stated in the article is that guys don’t lunge as far as they should or as “explosively” (not a word I’d use for a lunge motion) as they should, and maybe by having to do that little kick it will help correct these flaws. I’ve tried a couple of sets of this myself, and I don’t feel anything different.
In fact, performing a normal lunge seems to hit my legs harder than the “dynamic” lunge. Then again, maybe I have better form than the guys they’re hoping to help.
The article then moves to side lunges, which again, seem to differ only through having to lift the leg a tad higher on the way over the bar. Then an actual not-new way to use a barbell, but one that might be new to you: the Hack Squat. This is like a reverse deadlift where you hold the barbell behind you. This one is fun to try, so here’s a video to help:
This cavalcade of barbell newness concludes with the Single-leg Deadlift Reach, which is just a regular Single Leg Deadlift with dumbbells, but at the bottom of the reach you tap the dumbbell on…you guessed it, the barbell. This will presumably help by making loud clanging noises, inciting the others in the gym to chase you for a more complete leg workout. If you want to reach down to a consistent spot, put a 12″ box down at that spot, and maybe cover it with a mat so you don’t annoy everyone. Here’s how to do a Single-Leg Deadlift:
The verdict? These are all great exercises. Lunges are a great part of a workout, hack squats are fun to try in place of a deadlift, and a single-leg deadlift is great for balance and posture.
But while maybe I’m missing something, I think lunges with proper form will actually work your legs better than lunges over a 10-12″ obstacle, because you can concentrate on the part of the workout where you lunge, rather than having to kick your leg up or out and risk whacking your ankle or losing your balance. You can see some proper form in the No-Weights Workout.
Ready for Liftoff? [Men’s Health]