I LOVE teaching fitness classes! And I’ll be honest…the audible groan that passes through the group when I tell them lunges are up next, has me doing my silent evil laugh…mwhahaha! (just kidding!…kind of).
But, no matter how many times I try to cue form corrections, some people just struggle to get it right.
Did you know that a LUNGE is one of the best exercises for lower body strength? Wait. Did you just groan again?
Listen, I get it. I have weak knees and if my form isn’t absolutely perfect…it hurts! And its not fun doing something that hurts, let alone something that might be damaging to my body. I used to avoid lunges because I was convinced that they were “bad for my knees.” What I learned was that when done correctly they can actually help my knees.
If you learn to do them right you might find that lunges do more than just shape your booty and legs. It can also build the kind of strength that reinforces your knees, making walking, running, and hiking easier as well as prevent injury.
Here are a Few Simple Do’s and Don’ts for Lunges
- Keep your feet hip-distance apart and make sure your legs line up with your hips
- Make sure you step back far enough to make a 90 degree bend in each knee at the bottom of the move (and by the way, if going that deep bothers your knees or hips, simply stay in the top half until you gain more strength)
- Lift up your chest and set your shoulders back and down. Keep your hips and shoulders square.
- Bend the back knee, driving it toward the floor. Your body should be moving straight up and down
- Push up through the front heel and keep of your weight in that forward leg. You want the front glute to be doing most of the work
- Keep your core tight
- Step your back leg directly behind your front leg (see number one on the DO list)
- Step back too far (lunges can be done this way, but nail this beginner form first and then graduate into the “fancier” types of lunges)
- Shift your body weight forward and back. This can strain the back knee…ouch!
- Push your front knee past your toe. Keeping your knee behind your toe takes the pressure out of the knee and puts it into the glute…and that’s where we want it. 😉
One last thing…CHECK YOURSELF. If you’re not at the gym or don’t have access to a full length mirror, use your phone to video tape or photograph yourself. Taking just a few extra minutes to check your own form can save you a lot of time and pain in the long run. Trust me!
WATCH THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION VIDEO HERE:
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