Hi Everybody, Kris Stokes your personal trainer in Amarillo, Texas here from our Custom Fitness. Today I want to talk a little bit about lunges and their form. We have lunges as part of our functional training and a lot of times they come up in real life more often than we like. If you need help with performing proper form or have questions, please reach out to our studio at 806-322-3188; our trainers will be happy to help.
Sometimes people get a little queasy when it comes to lunges because they really don’t like the feeling in their knees, but a lot of times that discomfort is from not performing the lunge correctly. Today I wanted to give you some tips on how to perform those movements accurately and safely.
There’s about a million different ways that you can do lunges, but today we are just going to zone in on the forward and back lunges. Within these categories, there are a few different movements we are going to showcase just to make sure that we save your knees, save your ankles, and make sure we are getting the most of our lunges without letting them get the best of us.
When we do lunges we always want to start out with either our feet shoulder-width apart or our feet all the way together, depending on the base you want to create. Lunges can challenge your strength, your endurance, your balance, your flexibility, and they consist of a range of intensities. They are a really great exercise to include in your workout routine, but if you are doing them incorrectly they can damaging to your joints. Today we will be performing body weight, or lightly loaded, lunges; we’re not talking about loading up with a bar or anything extremely heavy, but will instead be using our own weight and gravity to provide our resistance. As Amarillo’s personal trainers we encourage functional training, meaning exercises that can apply to your everyday life: lunging down to a kneel in the garden or grabbing that last box off the garage floor you’re cleaning out. Our goal is to help make sure that while you check off your “honey-do” list, you can be safe.
The first type of lunge we are going to do is a forward reaching lunge. To start off today’s lunges, we will begin with our feet about hip-width apart. Hands can be wherever they are comfortable. Take a step forward with one foot and your heel of the back foot will roll up. That back heel needs to roll up and not stay planted otherwise we will find ourselves locked into a bad position. As you continue through the movement, pretend like you are reaching down to pick up a box. Here you’ll notice that your spine moves forward, as you reach forward over the front leg. By leaning forward, we unload the pressure on the front knee which is going to cause less discomfort through that knee. We continue to reach down for the “box”; most of our weight is in our toes, the front heel is also unloaded from the weight and as we come back to standing we are going to roll that weight back into the heel and push our weight back through it.
So if we were to speed that up, we would step forward into the lunge, lean forward to reach for the “box”, and then step back so the whole body works together in a chain reaction. You’ll notice there was no abrupt stop or abrupt impact that we’re dealing with in the flow of the movement.
If, instead of a reaching lunge, we were to go into what a lot of people call a forward static lunge, stationary lunge, or some people call it a single leg squat, it would look a little different.
We would step forward into that same position only this time the trunk of our body would stay upright, shoulders up right, and we roll up high on the back toes, and the heel would be lifted up.
When we lower down it’s actually the back knee that does the work. The front knee is going to control the speed of it but our back knee is going to actually be controlling the movement. We drop that back knee down and as we do you’ll notice our front knee stays directly over our ankle. If at any point during a lunge like this, we shift forward where our knee goes over the front of our toes we are going to feel pain in the front knee. If we shift back into the knee-ankle alignment, we going to feel the muscle working in the back thigh and even through the glute. You can make sure that your knee is on top of your ankle by making sure that you can see that big toe out in front of your knee. Now, we are ready to press back up. From here, we could go straight down and straight up maintaining that position (always check over that knee!) and then we would step back and switch sides. That is a forward lunge series.
Go into that reaching lunge first, only this time obviously we won’t be reaching to the back.
There are a couple different ways we can do this rear lunge, but if we are moving and transitioning back and forth we will be stepping back with one leg into that back lunge and lowering our body down through the knees. Notice how the back heel comes up, front knee stays over the ankle, and then we would step back up. That would be if we put all of our weight on that front leg and we held it there. If we want to transition the weight between legs, (this may feel a little odd but it is doable and is functional) we could step back and load that back leg with our body weight from our front leg and then push off the ground with the back and come forward so you would get benefits either way. That is just a different kind of lunge; as I said, there are about a million different ways to do lunges.
A Rear static lunge isn’t a lot different than what we’ve already done except the moving leg. We move one leg to the back, we set posture upright, we have a high heel on that back foot, toes are down on both feet, all toes facing forward, knee is on top of the ankle. When all of that is set we lower down and right back up. The back knee controls the movement. Drop down first and then come up, and step your feet together before switching sides.
Basically, a lunge is just a step and a return or a step and a down and up movement. So you just want to make sure you are doing them correctly so you can save your knees, get a great workout and feel good afterward. If you questions feel free to call us at the studio 806-322-3188; we would be happy to help you out with form and technique. Those are really some of our biggest focuses here at Custom Fitness. From your personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas, have a great day!