Re-Thinking Lunges

March 3, 2009

Maybe I should start writing these posts in the mornign when I have more energy since I haven’t been to class yet or gotten the daily training session in…

This pic is from the 2nd page of a Google image search for lunges...wtf?!

This pic is from the 2nd page of a Google image search for "lunges"...wtf?!

The other day at the gym, I was asked whether I do a lot of lunges in my training. I said no, which lead to me being asked why. After thinking some more on it, here’s my justification for leaving them out so often:

1) Lunges are an advanced exercise: This has been said before in many places, so I am not just going to repeat what is all over the internet or in books, so I’ll try and present a slightly different spin on it. With a lunge we have a knee stability demand with the added demand of force absorption (which intensifies the need for knee stability), so if someone cannot perform a stationary lunge (split squat) with good knee control, I’m not going to let them anywhere near a lunge. Since I focus on training athletes, the joint impact issue isn’t much of a concern; the concern is can they perform the exercise with proper technique.

2) You can use more load in a split squat: With a typical 3 or 4 day training program, there is only so many lower body exercises we can do. At the same time, I also want to have minimal redundancy between the exercises I’m including on a day and over the week. Because of this I’m not going to have a bunch of split squat variations and lunges variations in the same phase of a program, so usually I will err on the side of using the exercise which is both challenging and lets the athlete use the most weight. This more weight thing is more of an issue with younger athletes with less strength so I usually want to spend some time loading a variation once they’ve learned how to perform it well.

3) Maybe I need to do more lunges! I know I’ve just given 2 reasons for why I don’t rush into lunges, but at the same time, I think I may have been not giving them enough love in my program. I’ve never had knee issues, and here I’ve been just working on loading my split squats. Since I started a new training phase this week, I put in reverse lunges today…which after hang cleans and deadlifts, was challenging to say the least. This is something I will be more aware of in the future, especially as a progression towards more sport specificity as an athlete’s season nears.

Now those are lunges! (image from figureathlete.com)

Now those are lunges! (image from figureathlete.com)

I love questions like this that force me to reconsider a part of my training philosophy!

CB

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4 Responses to “Re-Thinking Lunges”


  1. I did quite a few lunges tonight with those 1-2 combo’s on the bag hitting low and I thought of you :). I like lunges but I do prefer to do them with DB’s since my balance is not what it should be. Either that or I’ll hold the bar a little wider and use the rail of my rack to keep me lined up properly and not tipping off to the left or right. Just a finger tip or two on the rack keeps me steady enough to increase the weight a bit. But lately, no lunges with heavy weights. I do miss those workouts! Soon though, I’ll be back to those :). 4.5 more weeks of KB’s then a week off. Then back to the weights.

    Do some lunges! Even if they are bodyweight :)

    Last night that first pic didn’t come in. It is an odd pic to be in the lunge category!

  2. Chris Brown Says:

    As long as you werent thinking of me being the punching bag! :P

    The balance part can be tricky. I have success with improving it rapidly when performing the exercise every lower body workout (at least 2x a week) May be something to try if you want to improve your balance in an exercise.

    BTW when you used the bar, did you have it on your back or front??

    Anyways, enjoy the last 4.5 weeks with the KBs!!


  3. I definitely was not thinking of you as the bag :). I don’t tend to do well with workouts when angry so as of yet my bag has not taken on any personalities ;).

    I have the bar in back. I’ve tried in front a couple times and I am not able to keep my fingertips on the bar- particularly with the right hand. I’ve tried with the straps to see if that would help and it really doesn’t. I try to get it in the notch by my delts but for some reason it just causes me pain. So, I’ve given up for now. I was thinking if I had some cushion there, but then my delts wouldn’t hold the bar in place as well. No luck for me!

  4. Chris Brown Says:

    No luck for you indeed :P

    Also thanks for the comment you left on the other post! :) Thats great that you found a workout schedule you really like!


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