When performed correctly, the lunge is one of the best exercises you can do in the gym. While the lunge itself may not be cool looking or get you great legs like the squat or deadlift, it is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
More often than not I see the lunge performed incorrectly and in ways that appear to cause more harm than good, and today I wanted to share with you some basics on how to lunge correctly.
The lunge ranks up there with some of the primal movements like squats and deadlifts, and you will not even need a lot of equipment to get a great workout in. Another thing I like about lunges is that there is a progression and regression for just about everyone.
How do you start lunging?
Start in a Kneeling Postion. Imagine railroad tracks where one leg is on one track and the other leg on the other track in order to keep your legs parallel. Once in this position, with slight forward lean, stand upright in place and lower yourself down in a controlled pace. You want to try to achieve a 90 degree angle in both your forward foot and the back leg.
Note : Some people may not be able to get into a perfect 90 degree position or require more soft tissue/mobility drill . Everyones position will be different.
TRX Assisted Split Squats (Great for Beginners)
Bodyweight Split Squat
Goblet Split Squat
Once you have mastered the goblet split squat, it is usually safe to say that you are ready for a lunge.
Goblet Reverse Lunge
Instead of starting in place this time, start in an upright position. Take an exaggerated step backwards , and lower yourself under control while keeping a relatively tall torso. Keep your core tight and drive off the forward heel into the starting position.
Dumbell Reverse Lunge
Front Loaded Barbell Reverse Lunge
Back Loaded Barbell Reverse Lunge
Performance of Lunges
Stride Length : The shorter your stride, the more quad dominant the lunge becomes. You want to be careful here, because you will need a decent amount of ankle motion as well as relatively stable knees, so tread lightly when performing a shorter lunge.
Where to Push Off : If you push off the mid foot, you will increase loading the anterior chain ( Front ) , and if you push through the heel you will increase load on the posterior chain ( back of legs)
Forward Lean : Most people are tight in the hip flexors which causes them to lean excessively forward. Try to get as upright as possible and aim for that 90 degrees in the front and back leg.
Knees caving in : A very common issue among many who perform a lunge. Typically when this happens, it is a lack of strength in the gluten which are a huge player in lunges. Try performing some light glute activation drills before you get started.
Lands on Toes : This could be just from an imbalance among muscles, or because the body is not ready for a moving lunge. Regress to a static lunge/split squat and see if things clean up a little.
If you are not performing lunges you are missing out! Leave your ego at the door, and take time to master this very important exercise and you body will thank you down the road.