Lunges, functional strength for the lower body

Lunges: functional strength for the lower body

Why should you consider the lunge exercise in your program

The humble lunge is  a great exercise that has great strength and balance benefits in its simplest form and can be progressed to  a very challenging task.

It is particularly important as part of injury prevention programs in most field and court sports. In fact research has shown it is one of the movements that need to be used in ACL rupture prevention programs.

As a movement it has great transfer of strength to running based activities helping people run faster , more efficiently and hopefully prevent unnecessary running related  niggles.

Benefits of lunges

The lunge exercise strengthens the following muscles:

  • gluteus maximus
  • hamstrings
  • quadriceps
  • gastrocnemius/soleus (calves)

The lunge is similar to patterns of movement that we use in walking, running and climbing stairs. As such it has great carry over into these activities by  improving our strength, coordination and dynamic balance  of these activities.

Lunges also involve  the abdominal and trunk muscles to function as stabilizers. Using this exercise provides better specificity for core strength in activities that use this split stance posture, e.g running

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How to do a lunge

Starting Position

  • One foot should be in front and one foot should be
    behind the torso, similar to a split stance.
  • The feet should be about hip-width apart.
  • The distance between the front foot and back foot should
    be a length that is greater than a walking stride
  • The torso should be straight and the abdominals
    should be tight.
  • The toes and knees of both legs should be
    pointing forward.
  • The back heel should be off the ground. The correct
    distance between the front and back foot will enable this
    step to be performed more easily.

How to start doing lunges

Supported lunges

Bodyweight lunges

Weighted lunges

Reverse lunges

Round the clock lunge

How to progress lunges

Lunge to unstable surfaces

Overhead lunges

Lunge and press

Walking lunge and press

Reverse lunge to step up

Lateral lunges

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How to progress lunges to add core and functional tasks.

Palloff press and lunge

Lunge and rotate

Lunge walks

Dynamic and plyometric lunge jumps

Split jumps

KB Split jumps

KB Split lunge shuffle

So there is a lot you can achieve with this “humble” exercise just by making some simple upgrades.

Happy lunging


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