What is a lunge really? All trainers love the damn things, and you have probably, at some time or the other, been made to do one. Much like squats, there are all sorts. Regular standing lunges, where you bend one leg and sort of go up and down, walking lunges where you pootle around the gym floor like a broken machine, or, my least favourite, plyometric lunges where you jump through from one leg to the other. That last one always ends in a sore knee for me, but there’s the rub: I am obviously doing them wrong because, done right, lunges should not result in a gammy knee.
If you aren’t focusing on your form when you lunge, you are guaranteed doing your knees damage. And if you’re doing lunges at all, your trainer has likely walked you through proper lunge form: your front knee exactly over your ankle, but never over (N-E-V-E-R-!) and bent to a 90 degree angle. If it’s such a tricky affair, you might ask, why bother at all? (I did.) Well, they help shape your bottom half, develop core strength and balance, and increase flexibility in your hips. (I was told.) They are, in a nutshell, one of the most effective lower body exercises out there, and are up there with squats.
Gotta do them, so we got Zoe and Naresh from Studio 60 to show us how we should be lunging.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back long and straight and your shoulders back. Look forward.
- Step forward with one leg into a wide stance (don’t put your legs one in front of the other, there should be at least your hip’s width between them to help you balance).
- Lower your hips until both knees are bent at an approximate 90 degree angle. Your front knee should not extend over your ankle, and your back knee should hover above the ground. Keep your weight in your heels as you push back up to starting position.
- Repeat on both sides.