Lunges are a fantastic exercise for the whole lower body as well as the core. Unfortunately, people don’t like to do them! But when you begin to perform lunges properly and add variations, you’ll see that they are really worth their weight in gold.
Many people do not do lunges because their knees get sore. Depending on your diagnosis and how severe your knees are, you might be right. If you have had surgery, lunges are introduced in the later stages of rehabilitation. Mostly I find that lunges are performed incorrectly and that is what bothers the knees.
There are many ways to do lunges. The very basic movement pattern is the stationary lunge, or split squat. One foot in front of the other, feet hip width apart. It’s common to have a too narrow stance, so widen the feet a little which also helps with balance.
Your front knee should be over your ankle. Even while moving up and down, keep that knee still. Often it slides too far forward which places a lot of weight on that knee. Your back knee should be under your hip, or just a little behind. It’s common to have that knee too far forward which bunches everything up!
Both knees should stay in line with your second toe. Don’t allow your knee (especially the front one) to fall in past the big toe. That will really hurt your knees in the long run, and it means your glutes are not working well enough! Your front leg should bear most of the weight while the back leg is mainly for balance.
Look to feel your quads working but also your hip/glutes on the front leg. Finally, your shoulders should be over your hips. Hold your neutral posture! By leaning forward you are putting too much pressure on your front knee and not using your core properly.
Once you have this position down pat, you can begin with movement. Walking lunges, or forward and backwards lunges really just repeat this split squat over and over. Take your time and make sure your foot lands in the right place. Make sure you have your balance and posture. By rushing through the exercise, you are losing what you are trying to achieve!
Don’t try to get your knee right to the floor at the beginning. Yes, I want you to go as low as possible, but make sure your technique is correct and as you get stronger, you can get lower and lower, without compromising good form!
In the video, I give a variety of lunges. You can have one foot elevated, have a foot on a BOSU or stability ball. You can hold dumbbells, medicine balls, or wrap bands around your waist. Be creative in how you make your lunges dynamic but remember the main principles.
If you are looking for more ideas, want to make sure you are working out correctly, or need motivation, let’s connect – even virtually!