98% of the world does lunges wrong.
Alright, be prepared to go geek mode for a second but Keep Reading because this will change your life and exercise routine FOREVER!!
The purpose of a lunge is to create a one legged squat. Doing this makes the classic exercise unilateral which engages more core and posture muscles, as well as the stabilizers we use for the balance of a single pattern of gait (AKA balance those muscles when we walk!) A lunge can easily be seen as one of the most functional exercises you can perform because of its ability to transfer so well into everyday life. SO WHY is this widely known and fundamental exercise performed so incorrectly? Well it all comes back to mechanics. There was a time that fitness professionals thought that ballistic stretching was a good idea(thumbs down), a time when neck rolls were a regular cool down routine(thumbs down). When it comes to a lunge, people are already feeling the consequences but without the message being out there people just don’t know! So let’s start with the basic structure of what people traditionally call a lunge…
“Back up straight” – The problem here is range of motion(ROM) of the hip. A traditional lunge is requires more extension of the hip than most people have to give. When the hip hits its full ROM abilities in extension it turns to the lower back for extension. We haven’t even started the exercise yet and already we are beginning in a compromised hyper- extension of the lower back. This also makes it IMPOSSIBLE to properly and fully engage the core.
“Don’t let your knee pass your toes” – This is considered pretty common knowledge and with good reason! The knee passing the toes creates a forward shearing force on the knee. Weight is distributed forward while the lower portion of the knee is stationary. So is this wrong? Absolutely not! The problem is we have put all our attention on the front knee and have completely forgotten about the positioning of our back leg! Take a look at the picture provided – front knee looks good not passing the toes. The back knee however is COMPLETELY past the toes. That beautifully acquired 90 degree angle in the dropped knee is the problem. Gravity goes down, our body weight – down, perhaps add some dumbbells to create a challenge – also a downward force… Lower leg however is perpendicular to the effects of gravity creating the very same shearing force we worked so hard avoid!!
This is just the start and introduction.
A properly executed lunge is hard to teach as it is VERY hands on. You must be able to recognize and correct your own misalignments and compensations, and since you don’t have eyes that can watch your own butt, literally, its nearly impossible to teach to the masses. Remember your foundation exercise and mechanics well known in a squat and you’re already halfway there!!
You can also always hire us to teach you. HINT HINT. Trainer In PINK, get it right the first time!