If you’re looking for a lower body exercise that challenges your balance, core strength and stability, and all of the muscles in your legs, the lunge is a great place to start. There is a lot that goes into a lunge that you might not have thought about. Try standing with your legs split apart front to back right now and see how much you wobble. Can you feel the muscles in your ankles working hard to keep you upright? That’s even before we start to add movement! Even if standing there is really difficult for you, don’t fret! There are modifications that can be made to make lunges a great exercise for everyone, from the beginner exercisers to the seasoned gym rats.
As with every exercise, lunges can be amazing if done properly but can cause some trouble if done incorrectly. Here are some basic points to keep in mind when you lunge:
- Keep your knees in line with your toes. Don’t let your knee collapse to the inside or push to the outside.
- Don’t allow your front knee to move forward past your toes.
- Keeping pressure on your front leg, drop your back knee straight towards the ground.
- Make sure your chest stays up and your shoulders stay back.
- Drop into the lunge and come up out of it in a smooth, controlled motion.
If a normal lunge is a little too challenging for you for now, try these variations to start with:
- If balance is the main limiting factor, hold on to a chair or table.
- If you’re finding it hard to stand back up from the lunge, use a TRX or handrail to help pull you back up.
- If you’re experiencing pain at the lower depths of the range of motion, don’t be afraid to not drop so deeply. You can go lower as your body gets used to the exercise.
As always, if you experience any pain when you lunge, stop right away. Keep in mind that there is a difference between pain and the feeling of muscle fatigue. If you’re unsure if you’re doing your lunges properly or want some advice on how to make them appropriately challenging for you, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer! We always love lending our expertise.Set up a Free Fitness Consultation
Written by Jordan Meyer, Certified Personal Trainer & Group Exercise Instructor at Elite Sports Club-North Shore