Lunges, in one form or another, are a must in most training programs regardless of the goal. Unfortunately, they are often performed incorrectly. With bad technique negating the amazing benefits this exercise has to offer and, in some instances, increasing the risk of injury. Here, are some of the most common mistakes people make with their lunge technique.
Over-pronation: the arch of your front foot collapses.
This indicates that you aren’t stabilising your hips with your glutes, and that your knee is in a dangerous alignment. Imagine that there is a thumbtack under the arch of your foot. This will remind you to keep your weight towards your heel and slightly to the outside edge of your foot.
Hip internal rotation: your front knee points across your body and inside the line of your big toe.
This indicates that once again you aren’t activating your glutes and medial quads to stabilise your knee. Squeeze your butt and try to keep your knee pointing in line with your middle toe.
Lateral pelvic tilt: your hips are tilting side-to-side like a runway model when you lunge.
Or your butt pokes out to the side at the bottom range of your lunge. Again, this means you aren’t utilising all of your glute stabilisation to control your alignment. The result? Your spine will be out of alignment, which is not ideal especially if you are holding dumbbells or have a barbell on your shoulders! If you don’t use weights put your hands on your hips and make sure they are level. If you’re using weights, try to make sure your hips stay even though out the full range of the lunge.
Forward weight transfer: you lean forward and your front knee comes forward past your toe.
This puts your knee in a vulnerable position. All of the pressure is being place on the knee ligaments rather than your thigh muscles. Keep your body upright and, on the downward phase of the lunge, move straight down rather than forward and down. To develop your technique you can practice your lunges with the toe of your front foot touching a wall. As you lunge your knee is not allowed to touch the wall.
Lunges aren’t difficult to do but once your get into the habit of doing them incorrectly they can be dangerous. Work on mastering the basic technique before you add variations. And remember, activating your glutes and maintaining good alignment and posture is key!