Common Exercise Flaws and the Fixes: The Lunge

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

Single leg work is an extremely important component to a quality performance training program. It allows for more specific work on one leg which is critical as many of our daily activities and sporting events utilize single leg stances. It allows for less compression of the spinal column as it places more emphasis on the hip and core musculature. Single leg work also promotes more functional stability and balance than its bilateral stance counterparts.

 

You don’t need to be a stability ball Ninja, just do some quality single leg work!

 

But just as with any exercise, if the form and focus are not spot on, single leg emphasis exercises (specifically the lunge in this case) can quickly result in unwanted compensation patterns, decreased performance and injury. A few things to consider when training the lunge are…

1)      Make sure you don’t over or understride the stance.

2)      Start with the feet, ankles, knees and hips stacked on top of each other and step straight back keeping them in line.

3)      Don’t let the knees cave in (valgus) or the trailing hip to rotate open (keep your hips forward as if you had headlights on your hips and you want the lights shining straight forward).

4)      Don’t let the trailing hip sink or dip (imagine a shelf coming out from each hip with a glass of water on each and you don’t want to spill the water).

5)      Keep the trailing knee underneath the hips and when descending into the lunge utilize the “sprinter position” in order to load the hip and use the front leg glute to perform the majority of the work.

6)      Keep the front leg shin relatively vertical, dig the front heel down and back to produce the movement and keep the shoulder blades back to prevent from “slumping” over.

***Bonus tip: while you want the majority of weight in the front heel to prevent excess weight and quadriceps activity of the trailing leg, make sure the big toe of the front leg stays in contact with the ground at all times.

To see these cues in action check out the video below. Share this post with your friend and family because if you found it useful they will too!

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