As with everything I do strength wise, I always go back to my foundation of Pilates Principles. More often than not, people are not truly engaging the glutes, doing mindless repetitions and then adding more weight to "feel the burn". No, no (I wag my finger). I encourage clients to put their mind into their muscles using concentration and intention behind every move. Throwing around big weights doesn't mean a thing if alignment is sacrificed. Call me the fuddy-duddy of personal training, but function follows form and if your form is wack...thus be your body.
Let's break down the important parts of lunging, shall we?
1.) An upright torso. You want your chest to be lifted, abs engaged, and shoulders relaxed. Try not to round the chest and shoulders forward, that usually means you're avoiding ab work and letting that posture get lazy.
2.) Knee at 90 degrees. Aim for that front knee to to remain over the ankle and the back knee also bent with the heel pushing back behind you. The back leg doesn't always have to be at 90, it can be a bit more extended, but should be bent enough that you are engaging the back leg as well.
3.) Get the glutes on board. Your quadriceps (thighs) will be engaged, this is inevitable. However, make sure you aim to find that deep contraction in the booty before you come up and out of that lunge position. It just takes a little focus to find the work.
4.) Direction of the lunge. Make sure that if you are doing a forward lunge (as pictured above), that your momentum and energy is going down, like an elevator. If you lunge forward with a forward moving energy (like in fencing) the knee will be at too sharp of an angle, putting the knee joint at risk.
Now the fun part! Add different directions and challenges to your lunges; (I'll be doing a video to follow!)
- Lunge forward and backwards.
- Lunge to the side.
- Add bicep curls to your lunges.
- Add a twist with your lunge.