Stop forward walking lunges if they hurt your knees!
Modify the lunge to be nicer on the knees. Click here to find out how.
> Incorporates movement from all the major leg muscles
> Develops strength and endurance of the lower leg muscles
> Requires balance, flexibility, strength and coordination
> Will make your bum tight and your legs strong
> Note: it’s complex movement, difficult for beginner exercisers
When you lunge, there’s a lot of joint action happening.
All the joints in the legs move during a lunge - the ankle, the knee, and the hip joint. The muscles that act on those joints move you into and out of the lunge. Gravity helps on the way down, during the eccentric phase of the movement. No help on the concentric phase.
YOUR LEG ON LUNGES
Tighten and tone the following muscles doing lunges:
Calf muscles* act at the ankle joint
What’s the joint action? plantar flexion
Tip: Keep your heels down
Quadriceps** act at the knee joint
What stands you up? Knee Extension
Tip: The joint works best when knees don’t knock in or bow out
Gluteus maximus and hamstrings*** act at the hip joint
The more range of motion, the better the hip extension.
Tip: Drop low, then stand tall between lunges.
NASM CPT Study Tip: In NASM’s Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, muscle image and descriptions in the appendix make learning the muscles and muscle functions very difficult. Under quadricep muscles, for example, you’ll read “Isolated Function: Concentrically accelerating knee extension”. In similar textbooks the wording is a bit friendlier, like AFFA’s description in Personal Fitness: Training, Theory and Practice: “prime mover for knee extension”. Find a CPT study resource that works for you, regardless of what test you’re taking.
*What are the muscles of the calf? The gastrocnemius is the meaty calf muscle; the soleus sits beaneath it.
**What are the quadricep muscles? Rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius.
***What are the muscles of the hamstring? Biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus