The lunges is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen and build mass in your lower body, it is a compound movement that works many muscle groups at once. The lunge primarily targets the quadriceps and glutes, and it will also work the hamstrings, calves, lower back and core. The lunge will also improve your balance and posture.
You can do a stationary lunge or a walking lunge. Its is more recommended to perform a stationery lunge since it is much harder to keep good balance and form doing the walking lunge.
The lunge is a body weight exercise that requires no equipment. Once you mastered the lunge with your body weight, you can add resistance by holding a set of dumbbells or a barbell.
The lunge distance changes what muscles are worked more. Longer lunges emphasize more on the glutes, while shorter lunges will put more focus on the quadriceps.
If you feel pain in your knees. The lunge can put a lot of pressure on the knee joints, don't continue this exercise if you feel knee pain. To reduce the pain, try to take a smaller step forward and gradually increase the distance ad your knees become stronger overtime. Another option, is to do the reverse lunge, where you take a step back instead of forward. This variation usually puts less strain on the knees.
Lean your torso slightly forward, just don't cross your front foot. Most people think a lunge is an upright movement with the torso perpendicular to the ground, but this will put your body in mechanical disadvantage. Maintain a slight forward lean in the torso. An overly upright torso places greater stress on the knees and low back while minimizing stress to the glutes and upper thighs. That's not what you want.
Keep the heel of your back foot as high as possible. Allowing the body to sag down by dropping the heel of the back foot is a big mistake. This causes the hips to drop down and forward, removing the engagement of the posterior chain while placing too much stress on the lumber spine. Instead, Try to keep the back foot perpendicular to the ground, with all your weight on the balls of the rear foot.
Most of the weight should be placed on the front leg. Usually you should put around 75% of your weight on the front leg, and the rest 25% on the rear leg.
Align both of your feet on the same line. A common mistake is to perform the lunges with feet wide apart. This creates faulty stride mechanics that cause groin pulls and hip joint issues. And also making your muscles less effective performing the movement.
Don't touch the floor with your knee. This will release the tension off your muscles, stop lowering a few inches off the floor.
Do not use your hands to push your thighs. Keep the hands to your sides, held together on the chest, or any other place that help you maintain balance but will not assist the movement.
The leading knee should point to the same direction as the foot. Otherwise, the knee might twist causing loss of balance or even injury. Also, don't let your knee to fall inward or outward.
Don't let your knee go past you toes, this will put a lot of unwanted pressure on the knee joint. Try to keep the knee directly above the ankle.