Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today we are talking about common issues with lunges and how the proper lunge form can enhance your workout.  When we have new clients come in, we often hear “I don’t like squats”, “I don’t like lunges”, “X hurts my knees”, or “this just doesn’t make me feel good”.  That’s fair. Sometimes there are anatomical anomalies where a surgery or some severe therapy is warranted for your knees. However, if you are the average person who experiences extra swelling, soreness, or just some pains in odd place, there is a chance your form needs to be tweaked.  If you have questions about today’s blog or would like more information about the proper form for your exercises, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Today we will provide some options on how to perform lunges in a safe way with more benefit. I’m going to enlist one of teammates, a personal trainer in Amarillo, Larnce to help me out today.  He will demonstrate the form as I explain what you are saying.  

Begin by standing with your feet hip width apart. Take a large step forward with one leg, causing the other leg to roll up onto the ball of the foot. If your back heel is down, that will cause some issue. Do you notice his front knee is bent back slightly behind the ankle?  The goal for lunges is that the front leg bares the weight and the back leg controls the movement. As he goes into the lunge, his back knee is controlling the movement by pushing him North to South.

When he is in the South position, you’ll notice that his front knee never juts out in front of the ankle. Instead, he comes into perfect form with the knee stacked directly on top of the ankle. A lot of issues people experience come from leaning too far forward when they bending down. This transfers a majority of the weight into the knee joint. No wonder some people feel pain!  To keep the discomfort to a minimum, Larnce will bring himself back into a straight back, knee atop of ankle, and allow the back leg to bring him to the North position.

Watch his back heel as he goes up and down. The heel is always lifted. It never goes completely flat then elevates. He always has it up off the ground to help maintain control of the movements. This is a typical forward lunge in a static position.

If you were to step in and out of the lunge, you would start off in the same position. Step forward with one leg. Allow your back leg to bring you downward. Keep your front knee on top of your ankle. Lift back up. Step back and repeat on the opposite side. Notice, that once he plants his front leg, he stops moving forward. His back stays straight and he flows up and down and then returns to his starting position. You can apply these same steps to a rear lunge.

Let’s move onto the side lunge. This is another variation where people report having pain.  Begin in the same standing position; feet hip-width apart. Step one leg out to the side into the lunge. Double check that your knee has not gone over your toes. A sure fire way to keep your leg in alignment is to bring your hips towards the back wall. Sit back into the lunge and allow the leg you stepped out to control the movement. Now this is essentially a one legged squat.  Your opposite leg is straight and your chest is up as high as it can be, to make room for the knee to enter that space. Then we return to our starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

You can do this exercise where you bob up and down in that position or you can also step in each time. The important thing is to sit back into the lunge, so your knee remains in the correct position directly over your ankle (not thrusting forward causing you to balance within the knee joint).

Thank you for being our demo buddy today Larnce.  

Next time that you do lunges you want to make sure your body is in the right position. You also want to make sure that the right parts of the body are doing their job: front leg is in charge of holding the weight, back leg is in charge of the motion, and your brain is charged with limiting the range of motion. If you have moderate or worse joint pain, don’t go all the way to the floor. Limit yourself to dipping down a few inches until you gain the strength to lower yourself further.

There is a reasonable point of discomfort with all exercises. Your body is changing and renewing; it won’t always feel comfortable. However, if you have reached a point of pain, you have gone way too far. Ask yourself when you feel a twinge, “is the tolerable or is this painful?”  That may help your mind decipher the sensation and help you know when it is time to stop. Make sure whatever exercise you are doing, lunges or otherwise, isn’t causing you pain. If it is painful, you need to stop and reassess your form. Don’t write the exercise off completely, but maybe have a friend look at what you are doing to see if they notice any red flags.  

Don’t forget, if you have 20 pounds or 15 inches you would like to lose before Christmas, our last Down Size session of 2017 starts up October 30th. Down Size is a 6 week program that teaches you to change your habits, learn to choose healthier food (that is actually real food!), and start to exercises more. Registration is open now. If you want in, we have 20 spots available; reach out to us and we’ll be happy to send you the application. Here’s the kicker, if you do lose those 15 inches throughout the 6 weeks, you get a full refund. That’s a no risk situation.

If Down Size doesn’t sound like an option for you right now, no worries. If you would like some professional help in assessing your current exercise form and technique for lunges and beyond, that’s where our team comes in. We will make sure that the exercises you are doing are beneficial, effective, and not painful. We would love to help you out. Give us a call at 806-322-3188 or e-mail us at info@customfitness.biz.   Remember, at Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day!