Here’s how to do lunge exercises properly. By Li Yuling
If you’re looking to tone your legs and butt, lunges are a great exercise to incorporate into your exercise routine. This functional exercise strengthens the lower body – especially the hamstrings, quads as well as glutes – and improves stability.
But do it wrong and you’ll end up straining your joints. Common mistakes when doing a lunge is when front knee collapses inwards or extends past toes, says Amirrudin Ong, a coach at Ritual Gym. Both put unnecessary stress on the knee ligaments, and can lead to discomfort and injury.
Stand with feet together. Pull shoulders back to open chest. Engage core muscles and, keeping weight on heels, slowly lift one foot off floor. Take large step back with raised foot. Lower body slowly, bending both knees. Knees should bend at right angle until front thigh is parallel to floor. Hips should not tilt forward or back, and front knee should not extend past toes. The reverse lunge uses less force than the forward lunge. Maintaining balance during the reverse lunge is also easier because the centre of gravity remains between both feet.
To ensure that you don’t hurt your knees, focus on keeping both knees at a 90-degree angle at the end of a lunge. If possible, do this beside a mirror so you can ensure the front knee does not extend past your toes. Make sure the front foot points forward throughout the movement. Squeezing your butt (tightening the gluteal muscles) might help with front knee stability.
Ritual ambassador Sarah Hodgens demonstrates how to do the lunge properly, without hurting the knees: