The lunge is a staple lower body, unilateral exercise that all healthy athletes and adults should be able to perform.
It can improve strength, range of motion, and enhance performance and activities of daily living.
It's also an exercise that can be quickly eliminated from programming where unilateral dysfunction or pain in the joints of the lower limbs exist. However, many times it's just labeled as an unsafe exercise, which is wacky.
No matter what age, all healthy humans should be able to nail a lunge from the ground up and the top down. It's one of those movements that you'll find yourself in more than you realize and sure helps to be able to get in and out of with some strength and power.
For this post, here's how to perform a top-down forward lunge like a champ. This explanation is the same whether performing with dumbbells in hands, barbell on back, or body weight only.
- Begin standing with feet hip-width apart.
- Take a step forward with one leg slightly longer than a walking stride
- Maintain good posture thinking about driving your head through the ceiling.
- Your back heel should naturally come off the ground if you've stepped far enough in front.
- Lower your body at the hips until both knees are about a 90-degree angle. This can be accomplished by staying just above the ground (or you can also gently tap your back knee to the ground)
- A proper step and keeping good posture will ensure that the front knee stays directly over the ankle joint. In general, you want to avoid letting the knee get too far out in front because of sheer forces that can be placed on the joint.
- When returning to starting position, think "push the ground away" with your foot and return to starting position.
- As you drive back to the starting position, do your best to maintain a stiff upper body not allowing your back to go into extension to assist the movement.