Mix it Up: Modify Lunges to be Easy on the Knees

lunge to killIf Lunging Hurts Your Knees, Stop Lunging! Don’t do forward stationary or walking lunges. Try the reverse or step back lunge. Sounds crazy because it’s still a lunge? Modify your lunges by doing them backwards and I swear your knees will feel better.  

Lunging and Your Knees
When we lunge forward, our weight gets transferred from our two legs into our landing leg.  lungeThat’s when and where you feel the joint pain – in the knee of the leg that steps forward, right as it’s landing. That’s because the knee joint suffers the brunt of your shift in weight. Gravity wants to bring you down, quickly, right? Your muscles go along for the ride. It’s really getting up from a lunge that’s the hard part. That’s when the muscles of the quads, glutes and hammies fire up. You want to fire those big leg muscles without the knee pain. The good news is, you can. Work the same leg muscles with a stepback lunge and avoid the pain of getting into position . It’s a modified lunge.

Why Backwards is Better
step back lungeWhen you lunge, you should be thinking about your front leg, regardless of which direction you’re stepping. The weight belongs in the front foot. During a forward lunge, the weight must be transferred into that front foot upon landing. During a backward lunge, the weight is already in the front foot. What becomes the forward leg, hasn’t gone anywhere. There’s a slight weight shift but it’s far less dramatic than the forward lunge. Ipso facto, the knee isn’t working as hard. Make sense?  

A Lunge is a Lunge
A lunge, whether a forward or backward lunge, works the same muscles. The joint actions are the same and the muscles that control those joint actions won’t care which direction they’re moving in, just that they’re moving! ;)

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  1. [...] to make them more comfortable for clients. My first trick is always the step back lunge. Read why reverse lunges are easier on the knees than forward lunges and then check out a quick clip of Kickstand Kate performing step back [...]

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