The lunge, and all of it’s variations, should be a staple within your movement program. Since much of what you do daily involves emphasis on single leg strength, stability, and balance, there is really no reason why you would overlook the lunge. This is especially true if you are active by walking, running, or playing sports.
One of the biggest problems that prompted me to write this article was the lack of attention to detail concerning the form which makes the lunge effective. Since I work in a fitness facility, I have the privilege of watching people move and specifically lunge on a daily basis. This is a privilege and also a curse, because often it’s not always pretty.
You can’t blame the person performing the lunge if they have never been told how to lunge properly. I think the problem stems from assuming everyone knows how to lunge that gets us into trouble. Yes, this is one of the most popular exercises anywhere. No, it does not just happen naturally, especially in our technologically-crazed and movement-restricted society.
So, what needs to happen? The teachers (trainers, coaches & therapists) need to teach.
My goal is to not expect that everyone knows what I know. I have spent many years of schooling, internships, and hands-on experience working with people on a daily basis while assessing and instructing movement. Just because you’ve done lunges before or have seen a “proper lunge” on Facebook or Youtube doesn’t mean your perception of the task matches your execution. Therefore, it’s important to use this article as a mental checklist while you are lunging to determine how you can be more proficient and effective with this movement pattern.
The basic principles to perform a proper lunge are:
- Proper positioning of the pelvis
- Alignment of the lower limb
- Trunk angle/lean (can vary based on the focus on that lunge variation)
- Position of the foot with support from the big toe
In the following video, let me walk you through all of the above mentioned areas so you can lunge more effortlessly and with better long-term results:
The tips provided in this video should be easily observed but that doesn’t always mean they are easily attainted. Please feel free to reach out directly if you notice difficulty getting into the right positions. This is common and most likely warrants an evaluation and specific corrective exercises to target any underlying limitations.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART