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
- Stationary lunge
- Reverse lunge
- Bulgarian split squat (rear foot elevated lunge)
- Lateral (side) lunge
- Curtsy lunge
- Transverse lunge
- 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!