A few months ago, I made this post on my Instagram. A lot of people reached out and said they found it so helpful, so I knew I had to make a more in depth post about the subject of lunges.
* Side note, if you are not following my Instagram you should because I post daily tips on different health and fitness topics.
Lunges get a bad rep at the gym for being hard on the knees. A lot of new clients come to me and say they want workouts without lunges because the exercise always hurts them. Lunges can be tough on the joints, if you do them wrong. And unfortunately the way you see a majority of people lunging is the wrong way.
Today I am going to set things straight and give you my top tips on how to make lunges more effective and less painful.
Rule 1: Only do static or backward lunges
If you have knee problems, you should NEVER do forward lunges. Forward lunges are exactly as they sound, to perform the exercise you have to step forward to get into the lunge. This motion puts so much pressure on the knees, and it is hard to find the proper form while doing forward lunges. If you regularly do my MFit workouts, you know that I am not a fan of the exercise.
Rule 2: Get your butt back and keep the weight in your heel
The reason I prefer backward or static lunges is because it is easier to find the proper form in those variations. In all lunges your butt should be pushed back and your weight should be in the front heel. A lunge should feel very similar to a squat. In fact, from now on consider it a single leg squat. As you come into the lunge stick your butt out. As you bend your knees, keep your front heel down. As you straighten your legs drive that heel into the ground. If you do your lunges this way, you will feel your butt and the back of your leg. If you do not do them this way, you will feel your knees.
Rule 3: Let your chest drop forward slightly
You want to keep your chest over your front leg. If you are standing completely upright, your chest is not in the correct position. Shifting your chest forward will make it easier to keep your butt back, which will allow you to keep your weight in your heel! Everything is connected. If you have the right posture, everything else will fall into place. However, you should still have good posture in this position. Your chest is forward but your back is still flat and your core is engaged. Use this image as your guide for proper lunge posture.
Rule 4: Foam rolling and muscle activation
If you are doing everything correctly, and you still feel your quads burning and your knees hurting, chances are your quads are just really tight. So, invest in a foam roller and spend more time in your warm-up activating your hamstring and butt muscles. My 4-week Peach Plan will help with this. Each video in that plan includes an intense glute activation session before the workout begins. Activating the muscles you want to feel and rolling out the muscles you don’t will help balance out your body so you feel the exercise in the right places!