Lunge trouble? Learn how to do lunges with beautiful, fix common form errors and grab a handful of fun lunge progressions for your next workout!
Lunges: How to Do Lunges with Beautiful Form
Next to the hip hinge, lunges are the move I see performed incorrectly most times by clients. Lunges are great for building strength and working on stability / balance. They are great to do as just a bodyweight move, but there are also so many cool progressions you can do with this move, once you’ve mastered the basics!
I’ve been doing a fun series on Instagram called ‘Girl, Nah!’ / ‘Girl, Yeah!’, where I breakdown different exercises and more. This week we are focusing on lunges and y’all requested a blog post to compliment the Insta posts. So, let’s learn how to do lunges with beautiful form, shall we?!
BASIC LUNGE SET UP
Stand upright, feet hip width apart, knees loose, pelvis tucked, core braced, shoulders back & down. Take a step BACK with your right foot, while bending both knees to 90 degrees. You should FEEL THIS in your heel & glute (of standing leg) and quads. Drive through HEEL of the standing leg to return to starting position.
COMMON FORM ERRORS
- knee sliding too far over the front of the foot
- heel raising
- driving through ball of the foot to stand, instead of heel
- wobbling through the entire move
- very staggered feet
KNEES SLIDING TOO FAR OVER THE FRONT OF THE FOOT
Standard form should be foot & ankle at 90 degrees, knee at 90 degrees and hip at 90 degrees. Most often, it’s just a matter of needing to shift your weight back slightly, so the knee is tracking in the correct spot. If the knee is too far forward, you’ll end up putting unnecessary pressure on the knee, which causes pain.
HOW TO FIX IT | PVC PIPE! Place the PVC pipe on the ground, in line with the arch of your foot – inside or outside. Set up properly (good posture), hold on to the pipe for support and perform your lunge. Your shin should be parallel to the PVC pipe, which will put your knee in the correct spot.
NO PVC PIPE? Use a pole or door (hold on to the handles).
HEEL RAISING / DRIVING THROUGH THE BALL OF FOOT INSTEAD OF HEEL (see photo above)
Rather than putting pressure in the ball of your foot (which often happens with a front lunge for beginners), focus on driving through your heel, while still pressing down through your entire foot.
HOW TO FIX IT | Imagine you have a rope dipped in gasoline running from your heel to your butt cheek. It bends with your knee as you lunge. Before you stand, the rope at your heel is lit on fire. The fire travels up your leg as you stand and ends at your butt cheek. You want to DRIVE through your heel and squeeze your butt cheek to stand.
WOBBLY THROUGH THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT
You should move in and out of this move without looking like you are going to fall over at any moment. If balance is an issue, I HIGHLY encourage you to incorporate balance training into your routine (do you want a blog post on this?!!).
Place your hands on your hips and focus on a point in front of you. This helps to maintain balance!
VERY STAGGERED FEET AKA YOUR FEET DOING THEIR OWN THANG
Standard stance will have you starting with feet about hip width apart. From there, one leg moves back, while the other stay in place. Your feet / legs should look like railroad tracks.
HOW TO FIX IT | Railroad track feet is what we want. Stand over a thick line, with feet on either side. Keep one foot stationary and slide the other back. At the bottom of your lunge, your foot should be on the SAME SIDE of the line, just back a couple feet.
A FEW TIPS
- For beginners | Focus first on REVERSE LUNGES. They are much easier and will help your body understand how a lunge should feel. Starting with front lunges is tricky, especially if performed incorrectly, and can often make beginners focus on using their knee too much.
- Safety first | make sure you are not trying a lunge from some crazy surface or area that will cause injury. If you have a current or past injury, be smart. If this movement causes pain, make sure to consult with a doctor or PT. It could be a matter of needing to incorporate some mobility & strengthening work before including lunges in your workout, but it could also be a matter of lunges not being the best exercise selection for your current fitness level. Be smart.
- Form second | Get the basics down first and then move on to progressions. If you perform the basic move poorly, your progression will be performed poorly.
- Load third | There are so many ways to load a lunge, especially the progressions. Safety & basics first, then load (safely, of course!).
1 | WALKING LUNGES | After you’ve perfected your reverse lunge form (see yesterday’s post) and your front lunges, walking lunges are a great next step, literally! Hah! Do a lunge and then another. Just keep moving forward. You can either have both feet meet before taking another step, or just keep moving forward. Load in a variety of ways from overhead, to your side, single arm, etc.
2 | DEFICIT LUNGES | Perfect for working unilaterally and focusing on balance & stability. Step up is the same for a regular lunge. As you move back, your foot will drop to the ground. Load in a variety of ways.3 | BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT | If you want a quad burn, do this move. If you want to challenge your balance, do this move. You’ll set up with your foot elevated behind you on a bench or box. Foot flat or curled for more support. Prop foot up and hop your way forward. You want that front knee to be at 90 degrees still. Lower into your lunge, driving through the front heel. Load in a variety of ways.
Check out the Lean Legs Workout!
4 | LUNGE JUMPS | Literally, one of my LEAST favorite moves, but when done correctly, very effective. Start at the bottom position of your lunge, power through your heels, squeeze glutes, brace core and jump as you switch legs.
LUNGES: LOVE EM OR HATE EM?
DID THIS HELP YOU LEARN HOW TO DO LUNGES W/LOVELY FORM?
DO YOU HAVE ANY TROUBLE SPOTS??
WHAT PROGRESSIONS DO YOU WANT TO SEE?!?