How to do a proper Lunge

Our legs do a lot of work every day and it is important that we strengthen the muscles in our legs to prevent injury! One great way to strengthen your quadriceps (also known as quads/front of your thigh) is by doing lunges. Lunges also work on strengthening our hamstrings (back of our legs) and our glutes (butt). This exercise does not require any equipment and does not require a lot of space. It is important to keep our legs strong so we can keep moving around!

Position

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart
  • Step back with one leg (keep your back heel lifted off of the ground)
  • The front knee should stay over your ankle
  • Drop the back knee towards the ground
  • Be sure to keep your core engaged and your chest tall

Common Mistakes

  • Letting your knee go past your toes (when dropping the back knee towards the ground if you are also shifting forward your front knee will travel past your toes) – It is important to keep your knee over your ankle throughout the exercise to not put strain on your knee.
  • Letting the knee travel behind the ankle (when lunging if you are putting more weight onto the back leg your front knee will move back) — Keeping the knee aligned with the ankle is important to prevent knee injuries.
  • Leaning upper body — When lunging keep the core engaged by pulling the belly button in to ensure that your upper body does not lean forward during the lunge.

Modifications

  • If the lunge is too difficult, decrease how low you go in the lunge. Only lower your back knee until you feel the quads working and then stand up.
  • Is the stationary lunge not enough of a challenge? Try out reverse lunges! Start with your feet together and step back with one leg and drop down into a lunge. Then bring your back leg up so your feet are together in the original starting position. Be sure that when you are lifting the back leg you are placing most of your weight in the front leg.
  • Still want more of a challenge? Do a reverse lunge with a leg lift! Start with your feet together and step back into a reverse lunge. This time when you are lifting your back leg bring your knee up to your chest instead of putting your feet together. The leg lift at the top will also allow you to work your core muscles.
  • Want to stick to stationary lunges but still want more of a challenge? Add some weight to your lunges. This can be done by getting a bag of rice or a bag of lentils.

How to Start

  • Start with 3 sets of 10 reps (if this is too easy increase the reps up to 12 or 15).
  • Be sure to think about your quads as you are doing the exercise to get the most out of the lunge!

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The Social and Health Research Center

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