I really believe that lunges are one of the most fantastic exercises out there, however, I believe that they are also one of the most improperly performed exercises.
Scroll down to check out an awesome (yes, because I made it!) video going through how lunges SHOULD be coached. Or if you can’t wait – Click HERE.
I think I can understand where the bad cueing and coaching came from. A couple of decades ago lunges somehow became a ‘women’s exercise’ and were relegated to cardio based aerobics classes. It still isn’t often you walk into a gym and see the squat racks filled with strong people doing lunges.
Because it is necessary to keep cueing easy in a group setting, it just seemed safer to tell people to keep a straight back. And this has left us with a butchery of a VERY effective exercise.
The ‘straight back’ idea somehow became ‘upright posture.’ I understand that a neutral spine (maintaining the normal curve) is important. But I do not believe that a vertical posture is right!
Think athletic stance – forward lean, weight distributed through the whole foot, shoulder width stance, and proper stride length. This is a powerful position and makes best use of the glutes, quads, and core.
When we take the posture vertical we lose a lot of this strong, powerful position, and can overly load the spine. Not what we are looking for.
I use lunges with all of my clients, yes, even those with knee and back issues. How? By using a better position than what is typically seen.
For those of you who like science and numbers – check out this blog. I co-wrote this with my staff physiotherapist. While it is a response to women and whether they should do lunges – it is a great science based article explaining the reasoning behind my belief in a non-vertical stance lunge position.
For the more visual among you – I put up a YouTube clip explaining it all!
I really think that lunges are a fantastic exercise that should be included into any great strength and conditioning program. Making sure the form is on point is the best way to really maximize the benefit of this truly powerful unilateral exercise!!!
As always – if you have questions or comments I love to hear from you!