The Ultimate Guide to Lunge Progressions

Exercise progressions are important and often underutilized in the clinical and fitness setting. Changing the rep scheme and number of sets can only take us so far. In order to avoid a plateau in our rehabilitation and performance goals we need to challenge the body with different weight schemes, landing surfaces, and in different planes of motion. Today we start with the lunge, an important movement for lower body strength, coordination, and overall body function.

Our ultimate guide to lunge progressions takes you from basic static lunge holds to full body, dynamic movements. Our Ultimate Guide to Lunge Progressions provides 12 ways to progress the lunge pattern in safe and challenging ways.

1.       Lunge Pulse

In lunge position with knee on the ground. Lean forward until tension is felt in front side of back leg. Now slowly pulse forward over front foot in a controlled manner, furthering stretch in front of back leg.

2.       Forward Lunge

From a standing position step your right foot forward into a full lunge position. Left knee touched the ground before pressing off your right foot and return to standing position. Right knee should not go over right toe. Repeat for one minute each side.

Cues: Keep shin vertical, torso upright

3.       Forward Lunge onto Unstable Surface

Creating a balance and stability challenge. Same as the forward lunge only front foot lands on an unstable surface (airex pad or BOSU ball are good examples).

 

 

4.       Backward Lunge

From a standing position step your right foot backward into a full lunge position, knee touching floor. Press off your front foot to return to standing position. Front knee should not go over right toe. Knee can touch the ground but should not be resting. Repeat for one minute each side.

5.       Backward Lunge of Unstable Surface

Same as backward lunge with front foot staying on unstable surface (airex or BOSU recommended)

 

 

 

6.       Lateral Lunge

Lunge progression into a new plan of movement (coronal plane). From a standing position step your right foot to the left into a full side lunge position. Return to starting position and repeat. Continue for one minute each side.

7.       Star Lunges

Integrating lunge patterns into different planes of movement. From a standing position step your right foot a finto a full forward lunge position. Return to starting position and immediately perform side lunge. Return to starting position and immediately perform backward lunge.

(Not shown: Can also lunge into 45 degree forward and backward position)

8.       Forward Lunge into Backward Lunge

An advanced lunge progression. From a standing position step your right foot forward into a full lunge position. Press off your front foot and immediately move into a backward lunge. Repeat for one minute each side.

This one is burns!

9.      Weighted Lunges

Holding weight in different position can provide different challenges to the lunge pattern. Barbells and sandbags in front or back rack provide a weighted challenge while holding kettlebell and dumbbells provides a core centered challenge.

10.   Overhead weighted Lunges

Add a lateral core stability and balance challenge by holding dumbbell or kettlebell overhead while performing a forward or backward squat. Video demonstrates an overhead reverse (backward) lunge

11.   Sandbag Rotational Lunge

Adding weight and translational movement to the lunge pattern. Perform backward lunge while bringing sandbag (or other weight) to outside of front leg. Return to starting position and repeat on other side.

12.   Lunge Hops

Integrating lunge series into challenging full body exercise.
Starting in kneeling lunge position, push off front foot to 'jump' into air. While in air switch front and back legs, landing with opposition leg forward.

Improving the lunge pattern is a vital component in rehabilitating low back pain and other lower extremity issues. Not progressing too quickly to put ourselves at risk of reaggravation while providing the necessary stimulus for increased strength and better movement is the balancing act that we specialize in here at Evolve performance Healthcare.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to call (503) 954-2495 or write hello@performancehealthcarepdx.com.