How to do the perfect lunge!

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!

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Neil Russell
Neil Russell is the founder of ATLETA and one of the most highly qualified, experienced and sought after trainers in Sydney. He has trained Hollywood celebrities, models, top athletes and high profile corporate clients. He started working in the fitness industry as a gym instructor in 2001, while studying Human Movement Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). In 2004, he spent hours performing physiological testing on athletes in the UTS human performance laboratory and wrote his thesis examining the physiology of team sports performance. For his research paper he received a First Class Honours Degree. Since completing his major work, Neil has built a reputation of being an authority on exercise and sports performance training having had a number of articles published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. He is currently the resident expert exercise consultant for Weight Watchers magazine, and has featured in other publications such as CLEO, Men’s Style and Woman’s Day. Neil also lectures at the State Sport Centre (ACPE) and has taught at UTS and UNSW. As an Exercise Physiologist Neil is able to safely help professional athletes and his personal training clients achieve their individual goals, even when they present with an injury or chronic pain. Boasting unparalleled professional experience and knowledge, combined with his passion for maximizing his clients physical and psychological wellbeing, Neil is the ideal person to help you achieve your goals.