Typically, to make an exercise more challenging, you either add weights, resistance, or reps. While this is generally A-okay, even encouraged, not all exercises are created equal. In fact, one trainer says that you should never, ever do jumping lunges with dumbbells.
“I love jumping lunges because they challenge your balance, coordination, agility, power, and speed, and they’re great for cardiovascular endurance,” says Fhitting Room trainer Ben Wegman of the strength training move that involves starting from a lunge position and jumping off of the ground to switch the leg that’s in front. “They work all of the lower body muscles that conventional lunges do, but they also incorporate more core and hip stabilization.” And, like regular lunges, you also reap the benefits of strengthening your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves (but even more, since you’re propelling your entire body off of the floor).
That said, Wegman says that jumping lunges should not—like, ever—be done with weights. “So much is in play with jumping lunges, and weights are unnecessary at best, and more often than not, quite a dangerous addition,” he says. It’s risky mainly because the exercise is unstable. “Your core and hip stabilizers are working on overdrive to keep your body upright and safe, and your arms are also at play to help counterbalance the movement. Adding weights takes away the use of your arms, which would mean your core and hips have to work harder,” says Wegman. Because of this, you’re more prone to injure your back, roll or sprain an ankle, or hurt a knee if you fall out of a lunge, he says.
Essentially, incorporating dumbbells into jumping lunges is adding difficulty to a move that doesn’t need an extra challenge. “It wouldn’t really benefit the overall exercise,” says Wegman. The exercise is meant to use your bodyweight for the plyometric movement, which is where you’d reap the most strength-building results. Plus… jumping lunges are incredibly hard to begin with, so you’ll be just fine without added weights. (Trust me.) If you’re looking to incorporate dumbbells into your workout, use them with traditional, stable lunges and the many lunge variations (minus jumping!) that exist instead. Keep scrolling to watch how to do jumping lunges properly—all you need is a mat.