Forward lunges are a single-leg, bodyweight exercise that use your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, core and inner thigh muscles to improve your strength and endurance.
Because they are single-leg movements, unlike squats, lunges also help even out muscle imbalances by focusing on using one leg at a time.
Lunges are a fairly simple move, but proper form is important to get the most out of your movement. In today’s blog, we will discuss proper form as well as how to identify, and correct, common lunging mistakes.
Proper Lunge Form
- Start standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged.
- Take a big step forward with your right leg while shifting your weight forward so your heel hits the ground first.
- Bend both knees at 90-degrees to lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is directly above your ankle.
- Press into your right heel to drive back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Common Lunge Mistakes
While lunges seem simple enough, there are many common mistakes that can decrease the effectiveness of the move.
The Tightrope Lunge
Lunges challenge your balance, but many people unknowingly make it harder on themselves by stepping the front foot directly in line with the back foot. This dramatically reduces your stability. To avoid this and maintain better balance, focus on keeping your feet hip-width apart as you step out of the starting position. This will help you feel more stable when lowering your body.
The Heel Popper
If you don’t take a big enough step forward, the heel of your front foot will pop up when you bend down. This will also cause your front knee to push past your toe and put unnecessary strain on your knee. This can not only lead to knee pain, but your muscles are not fully engaged. To correct this, take a larger step forward, ground your heel, and drive strongly into the floor to push back to starting position.
The Chest Drop
Bending at the hip when you move forward causes your chest and upper body to drop down. This can strain your knees and throw you off balance. The key to avoiding this is to engage your core and keep your gaze forward instead of on the floor. Keeping your body upright will engage your leg muscles properly to get the most out of your movement.
If your hips or glutes are tight, your range of motion throughout your lunge may be limited. Using tools like the foam roller and lacrosse ball to help release tightness in your muscles and tendons can help increase your flexibility and range of motion. This flexibility allows you to keep proper form throughout multiple rounds of exercise.
If pain or tightness is keeping you from doing what you love, consider visiting an Airrosti provider. Our targeted treatment plan pinpoints and treats pain at the source so you can get back to doing what you love, fast.