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
- 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
How to do a lunge
- 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
- 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
Round the clock lunge
How to progress lunges
Lunge to unstable surfaces
Lunge and press
Walking lunge and press
Reverse lunge to step up
How to progress lunges to add core and functional tasks.
Palloff press and lunge
Lunge and rotate
Dynamic and plyometric lunge 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.