Are Lunges Hurting Your Knees? Here’s How To Do Them Correctly
Lunges are highly effective single-leg bodyweight movements that can be performed anywhere. However, they’re not as simple as they seem.
Many individuals, fitness junkies and novices alike, refrain from performing lunges because of the pain and discomfort it can cause to your knees. Luckily, as long as you don’t have a pre-existing injury, the pain is solely from poor technique and form – not from the exercise itself.
How To Perform Lunges Correctly
With proper form and technique, lunges are a fabulous way of strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, quads and core muscles. To maximize the effect of each lunge, you need to ensure each movement is done properly. The following guidelines will help you adjust your lunges to employ proper form and technique so that you can enjoy more gains – and much less pain.
Avoid Keeping Your Feet to Close
If you wobble during your sets, chances are your stance could be the problem. While performing a lunge, you need to keep your feet hip distance apart. Keeping your feet too close together leads to poor alignment, resulting in you losing your balance in the middle of your set.
Do This Instead: Imagine placing your feet in two opposite tracks. A wider base leads to greater stability and balance. Furthermore, it allows you to perform strides that are sufficiently long when you step forward, helping you balance on the ball of your foot to maintain an upright position.
Align Your Knee and Ankle
We all know that the front leg should make a 90 degree angle with the knee during a lunge. However, most people don’t focus much on where their toes are facing. Avoid extending your knee too far while performing a lunge as this can set you up for an injury. If you look down during a lunge and you can’t see your big toe, you’re probably extending your knee too far.
Do This Instead: From a standing position, sit your hips back slightly, aligning the direction of your toes to your knees. You should be able to see the tip of your shoe while doing so.
Plant Your Front Foot Fully
Before descending, make sure you plant your front foot fully on the ground to ensure proper technique. Your hips should remain behind or underneath you, creating a natural crease at the bottom of your lunge. Not planting all your weight in the front heel, will lead to added pressure in your knee, increasing your risk of an injury.
Do This Instead: Raise your toes slightly while rising from a lunge. This will help you plant your heel down fully during each rep.
Try Reverse Lunges
Reverse lunges are easier on the joints compared to forward lunges, making them an excellent training tool for beginners. To perform a reverse lunge, start with feet shoulder-width apart. Take one step back and bend both legs into a lunge. Place all your weight on the front heel and return to standing posiiton. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. If you have a pre-existing injury or illness, make sure your workouts are approved by your doctor.
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