The forward lunge is a very important exercise for improving your functional lower-body strength. It is a great functional exercise because it mimics a movement that is necessary in everyday life, i.e., bending your knees and lowering yourself to the ground. By regularly incorporating the forward lunge into your exercise routine, you are training your body to increase your ability to smoothly and aptly step forward, lower toward the floor, and then raise back up without losing your balance. Think, baby or groceries in one hand and you drop your keys right in front of your car door. Don’t worry. You’ve been doing your lunges!
- None necessary
- Start standing straight and tall with your feet together. Good posture. Good posture. Good posture.
- Take a long step forward. It is usually a little longer than you would think, so make sure you can see yourself in a mirror to adjust your form.
- Still standing tall, bend both knees and lower to the floor. You want to keep your weight and spine directly over your back thigh so you are in one long line. You can do this by making sure you stay mindful of lowering yourself with control straight down over your back knee, rather than focusing on your front knee. When you focus on your front knee, you are more likely to inadvertently lean forward and put strain on your joints.
- Sink down so that both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should not go any more forward than your toes as that can cause strain on the knee. Your back knee should stop about 1-2 inches above the ground. Pay close attention to Emma’s knees in the picture below for reference. If your knee angle is too big, you took too long of a step forward. If your knee angle is too small, your step was not big enough.
- Squeezing your glutes, lift yourself up, and step your front foot back to meet your back leg.
- You should be in your starting position. Repeat steps 2-5 by stepping your opposite foot forward.
Main Muscles Targeted:
- Gluteus Maximus
- Adductor Magnus
- Erector Spinae
- Tibialis Anterior
- Gluteus Medius
- Gluteus Minimus
- You can decrease the difficulty level of the forward lung by having a chair or table next to you that you can use as a crutch. This will aid your balance if you have any trouble balancing. It will also allow you to use some of your arm strength to push yourself back up if your legs struggle to lift your full weight.
- If you want to increase the difficultly level you can wear a weight vest or hold a weight in one or both hands. You can also use a barbell if you are an experienced strength trainer.
- Do this exercise in front of a mirror or with a partner so you can monitor your form. Correct form and knee position is very important in the forward lunge.
- If you feel yourself tiring, try a modification (see above) to allow yourself to finish the desired number of repetitions.
- Breathing cues:
- EXHALE as you step one leg forward
- INHALE as lower yourself toward the floor
- EXHALE as you lift yourself back up
- INHALE as you step back to start
- EXHALE as you step your opposite leg forward
*Remember, it’s always advised to consult with your doctor or health care expert before adding a new exercise to your routine to make sure you don’t have any contraindications.