Press-Republican

Columns

October 23, 2012

Lunge into better balance, fitness

Lunges are a great way to elevate the heart rate, as well as increase strength, coordination, balance and mobility.

The motion can be a safe and effective exercise if done correctly and you have no physical limitations. Lunges develop both strength and balance while also increasing mobility. There are also many types that can be done, including stationary lunges, walking lunges, reverse lunges and side lunges. If you are looking to better your lunge form or you are thinking about using lunges in your exercise program, it is important to know the basics.

ONE SHIN LENGTH

A lunge is essentially an exaggerated step either forward, sideways, backwards or diagonally. To start a forward lunge, you must take a large step. The amount you step forward really depends on your leg length and mobility. The minimum you’ll want to lunge forward or backward is equal to one shin length. Usually, you will be stepping farther than that, but this is a great drill to begin with. 

Measure from the ground to your knee cap, then make two marks representing that distance on the floor. Stand with the toes of both feet at the back mark and take a large step just past the front mark. Your heel should be beyond the front one. This is the proper step for a lunge. As you become more comfortable, you can lunge farther out.

The next rule of the lunge is to never let your front knee travel further than your front toe. To avoid this, you must think about dropping your hips straight down after the large step. You must bend the back knee to do this. You want to avoid having your hips travel forward when you lower yourself into the lunge.

UPPER BODY TALL

Keep your front heel on the floor. This is a very hard move if you are starting out. When taking the first step, you should land on your heel and keep it pressed into the floor. To do this, pull your front toe up while lunging. The back heel should be off the ground, as you will be on the balls of your foot, toes facing forward.

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