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How to Lunge - Variations, Modifications and Mistakes

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Updated April 09, 2014

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How to Lunge: Step by Step Static Lunges
How to Lunge - Variations, Modifications and Mistakes
Photo © Paige Waehner
Lunges are a powerful exercise, allowing you to shape and strengthen almost every muscle in the lower body –- the hips, glutes, quads, hamstring and calves. Lunges are tougher than squats because the split stance puts you in an unstable position, which challenges your balance. The stance also changes the load on your body, allowing you to work each leg more independently.

The problem is, some people experience knee pain during some types of lunges. It may be because of previous knee injuries or because of the challenging position lunges require. If you have a knee injury, you should work with your doctor to find the right exercises for you.

If you only feel pain when doing lunges, making sure you're using good form may help you eliminate the pain.

This step by step article explains everything you need to know about lunges: How to do them correctly, variations, modifications, alternatives and mistakes that can put added stress on your knees. Below is your first step towards a safe and effective lunge:

Step by Step: Static Lunges

  • Stand in a split stance with the right foot forward and the left leg back
  • The feet should be about 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on your leg length
  • The split stance will require balance, so hold onto a wall or chair if you feel wobbly
  • Before you lunge, make sure your torso is straight and that you’re up on the back toe
  • Bend the knees and lower the body down until the back knee is a few inches from the floor
  • At the bottom of the movement, the front thigh should be parallel to the floor and the back knee should point toward the floor
  • Keep the weight evenly distributed between both legs and push back up, keeping the weight in the heel of the front foot
  • Repeat for all reps before switching sides
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