Lunges train the entire body to move effidiently when running or walking. Through a lunge, you can strengthen the posterior muscles of the leg while also targeting your glutes and hamstrings.
Woodside Training Manager Kerstin Robertson demonstrates five types of lunges you can practice anywhere no matter what your fitness level may be.
When working on a lunge, the most important thing to keep in mind is where you are feeling the motion. Are you feeling it in your knees? Try adjusting your footing on the ground. Lower back? Maybe you are overextending your back when you hinge. Where you want to feel it most is in the back side of your leg like your glutes or hamstrings. Below are a few examples of different types of lunges to try until you find your perfect lunge. What kind of lunge are you?
This movement allows you to train the body to work back extensors, mid back, core, and glutes which can ultimately help lead to better posture. If you feel too much pressure in the knees while lunging, try to fold or hinge at the hip and plant your foot so the heel is driving down towards the ground. Stand up by activating your glute versus the quad.
Things to keep in mind: Place your hips square facing the ground. Slightly pull your shoulders back and down. To stand up, active your glute to help drive your motion and engage the backside of the lunging leg.
Posterior Lateral Lunge
This lunge is a great alternative for the “knee divers”. This dive is usually caused by a weak glute which is a result of improper stability from the hips. This leads to knees and feet collapsing inward during a lunge or a “knee dive”. This lunge offers a wider stance than the Posterior Lunge which allows you to target the external rotators of the glute.
Things to keep in mind: Square your hips. You should feel this lunge the most on the outside of your lunging leg. If you can, try holding your lunge for three seconds at the bottom — creating a glute burn. Hold again when you are upright. This movement is amplified with an isometric pause at the bottom.
This move helps train your body to have more balanced hips and stronger knees. If you want to ramp it up, try holding dumbbells.
Things to keep in mind: With proper form you will feel the entire body working with this lunge. Stay fairly upright in the trunk and keep your core tight. If you do not have a tight core you risk over tucking the pelvis or overarching the back. Knees should come to a 90-degree angle.
Single Leg Lunge
This move challenges your hip stability and balance. Add some extra load and challenge to this movement by adding a single kettlebell in the arm opposite of leg acting as your base.
Things to keep in mind: Keep your foot firmly planted and focus the moving energy in the glutes of the lunging leg. You can also keep the base knee soft in order to get some depth out of the hip.
Plyometric Reverse Lunge
This lunge is a great power movement for anyone looking to improve their take off when running or endurance.
Things to keep in mind: Here you want stable hips and should always focus on your glutes. They will be your main source of support. If you are doing it right, you should feel this movement working the entire body.