This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Drop-down lunges not only strengthen the quads and glutes individually; they also greatly improve overall balance and flexibility.
Legs (quads, hamstrings, glutes)
Stand upright with your back and shoulders straight and dumbbells held at your sides, palms facing inward (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, step your right foot approximately two feet in front of you. Don't overdo the length of your step; keep your steps short enough to maintain control and balance. When your right foot is placed, lunge forward with your right leg until you have a 90-degree bend in your right knee, staying light on your back foot. Your upper body and right knee should not move forward as you lower and raise your body. Make sure your right knee does not go beyond a 90-degree angle (see Photo 2).
- Reverse direction and return to the starting position. To fully isolate your hamstring, glutes, and quad muscles, avoid putting any weight on your left leg as you come up from the lunge position (see Photo 3).
- Perform a full set repeating with your right leg forward, and then switch legs and do a second set with your left leg forward (see Photo 4).