Trainer Tip Tuesday – The Lunge

Everyone has probably done a lunge in their lifetime or at least seen someone else do one – perhaps without even knowing it. Have you ever knelt down to tie your shoe? Or perhaps seen someone propose? Then you have seen a lunge.

This single exercise works the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and abs all at once. Lunges can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance, and unlike squats, they are highly effective at evening out muscle imbalances and working on actual balance (as during the movement one foot is off the floor). They’re also a great beginner move. Why? Because you pretty much do them daily (they mimic our walking pattern).

Ready to enjoy the lunge? Learn how to do them with these easy steps. I will also provide how to fix common mistakes.

The Movement

  1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Engage core. Smile – remember this is supposed to be fun!
  2. Take a big deep breath and then step forward with right leg and start to shift weight forward so heel hits the floor first. (Continue to smile!)
  3. Lower body until right thigh is parallel to floor and right shin is vertical (it’s okay if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe). If mobility allows, lightly tap left knee to ground while keeping weight in right heel. (Still smiling?)
  4. Take another big deep breath and then press into right heel to drive back up to starting position. (And – now you should have a big smile on your face!)

You now have successfully completed a lunge. Repeat nine more times on this leg and then switch legs. If you prefer you can alternate legs for a total of 20. Work your way up to doing 3 sets of 10 lunges on each leg.

Here are some common mistakes when first starting to do lunges.

Common Mistakes

Front heel raise

You want to step forward far enough so your front heel stays on the floor. If you step too shallow, your knee will travel forward past your toes, which puts unnecessary stress on the knee and causes your heel to raise.

Narrow stance

Avoid bringing front foot directly in line with back foot (as if you’re walking on a tightrope). When you do that it reduces stability and makes the lunge even more difficult. Yes, the lunge will challenge your balance – but don’t make it harder on yourself than necessary! Make sure that you are starting with your feet hip-width distance and maintain that distance as you step forward.

Upper Body Drop

When you lunge forward you want to make sure that your spine stays straight and you don’t bend at the hips. When your chest falls forward and you let your upper body drop it puts added strain on your knee and lower back. Make sure that you are engaging your core, chest lifted and keep your eyes forward instead of looking down.

 

Now that you have the basics down, you can modify your lunge workouts in many different ways in order to work different muscles. One way is to try a reverse lunge. We spend so much time going forward in our daily life – that stepping back instead of forward is a good way to balance that out.

Again – adding lunges to your enjoyout is a perfect way to strengthen the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and challenge your balance. Who wouldn’t want all of that?

Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY!

 

 

 

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