Six Lunge Variations For Functional Leg Strength

The lunge is a great lower body movement and a staple in our programming at Breakthrough Fitness.  It is also a movement that I have seen done very poorly. The poor mechanics usually come from people doing an advanced variation before mastering a previous progression.

Why we incorporate lunges into our strength training programs

  • Lunging patterns require mobility through the hips, knees, ankles, feet and toes. Doing them correctly and in a proper progression can help increase mobility in these areas.
  • We have the ability to decrease or increase the axial load (compressive force on the spine) with lunges. Which means there is usually a variation for everyone.
  •  Lunges are a ‘purposeful’ exercise. It’s very easy to see how they can carry over to sports and our daily activities.
  • They are done unilaterally (one leg at a time). Most of our daily activity is done transferring our weight from one leg to the other.
  • The entire lower body musculature is at work.
  • Lunges require balance and coordination.
  • Lunges can be done in all three planes of movement.

Sagittal plane – The body moves front to back – sit ups, bicep curls, lunges forward or backwards.

Frontal plane – The body moves side to side – lateral dumbbell raises, side lunges.

Transverse plane – The body can rotate in each direction – medicine ball side throws, transverse lunges.

Six lunge progressions we use at Breakthrough Fitness

  1. Stationary lunge
  2. Reverse lunge
  3. Bulgarian split squat (rear foot elevated lunge)
  4. Lateral (side) lunge
  5. Curtsy lunge
  6. Transverse lunge

Lunge checklist

  • Build a foundation of strength on both legs (bilateral) doing squats and deadlifts.
  • Listen to your body. If you had past knee injuries or deal with knee pain, lunges may not be appropriate for you.
  • Master a stationary lunge before progressing to more dynamic versions.
  • Be careful with repetitions. Lunges will leave you sore!

Keep moving,

Coach Dom

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