A lunge is one of the basic movements for a leg workout next to squats, but as easy as it looks, there are so many people who perform it incorrectly. Over time, this could cause muscle imbalances or even injuries, so it’s important to watch your technique – especially if you are doing them with weights added.
Here are the key things to watch out for when doing lunges, pratice the basic lunge with your body weight only at first and preferably in front of a mirror to make sure you’ve got it sussed before trying to jazz your lunges up with weights and variations.
Get your starting position sorted
Begin with your feet slightly apart, directly under your hips with your toes facing straight forward. Take a big step forward, ensuring there’s still distance between them width-wise (pretend they’re on railway tracks, rather than in one line) and this will help you to stabilise your balance.
Ensure everything is pointing in the same direction
Toes, ankles and knees should all be pointing in the same direction: straight forward. Common mistakes include turning in your back heel inwards, or not checking your front knee is heading straight over the top of your front toe. This is where you could get joint injuries if you’re doing it incorrectly (especially if you’re doing them quickly or with added weight), so it’s important to get this right.
Head down to the floor and lunge
When you lunge, you should be dropping straight down to the ground with your core engaged, and head and chest lifted in a neutral position. If you feel a little wobbly or have trouble getting down there, grab a pole or barbell at one end in the hand opposite to your front leg and place the other end of it about hip-width distance from that foot. You can then use this pole to steady yourself and help keep your positioning correct.
Keep your back heel raised
Many people try to drop their back heel every time they stand back up after lunging. Your heel should stay raised the entire time and your back leg should almost act like a training wheel to stabilise you; you should mostly feel this exercise in your front leg and your butt as you push back up, so try squeezing those areas as you stand to engage them.
Photo / NZ Real Health