How To Lunge Without Knee Pain

How To Lunge Without Knee Pain

The dreaded lunge! It’s an exercise that can be a real challenge for many people. Not only does it take a lot of energy to do, but if you don’t have the technique right, it can lead to knee pain and soreness.

If you are someone who experiences knee pain with lunges, you’re probably asking yourself right now…why do I need to do lunges anyway?

The short answer is that this movement not only creates strength in your lower body, but it also is a movement that you need to be capable of doing to be capable of doing every day activities like housework, gardening, walking upstairs, getting up off a chair, getting out of your car...you get the picture.

So now you know that you can’t just put lunges in the “too hard” basket, how do you master them without killing your knees?

Despite the fact that every person is different, there are some common reasons that stop people from mastering the lunge

POOR CORE STRENGTH

Core strength is not just toned, flat abs!  It includes all the muscles of the trunk and torso and their ability to stabilise the spine, shoulder joint and hip joint for functional, pain free movement.

Of course, knee pain can be caused by a mechanical issue with the knee joint. But weak core strength can contribute to the pain due to poor alignment of the knee and hip joint with an unstable pelvis and lower back.

When you go to lunge, there is a compressive force in to the knee joint and if it’s out of alignment, puts stress and strain on the joint which can present as a sharp pain.

So before you even begin to focus on the issues happening in the knees, you need to address any weaknesses further up the body in your trunk and torso.  

TIGHT MUSCLES & STIFF JOINTS

The lunge movement requires bending through the ankle, knee and hip joints. If there is tightness in any of these joints, the movement will be compromised in one way or another.

Flexibility and mobility are two different aspects of functional movement.

Flexibility refers to muscles being long and pliable and having strength full a full range of movement. Mobility refers to joints and their capability to be fluid and also capable of a full range of movement.

You need both to be capable of doing a functional lunge without any discomfort.   

Daily stretching and learning how to create excellent joint mobility goes a long way to alleviating knee pain.

MUSCLE IMBALANCE & WEAKNESS

This appears to be an obvious one, but understanding how to get the right muscles working, without over training the wrong muscles can be a bit tricky.

One of the principles of Pilates is ‘Control’.

Instead of just ‘letting’ the movement happen, the Pilates way of lunging requires you to firstly align your posture, then decide which muscles you want to do the movement, activate them and deliberately use them to do the movement.

When you master this, movements become more natural and flowing…even the lunge!

So as you can see, the biggest issue with lunges and knee pain really doesn’t have too much to do with the knee. Lunges are not an exercise that you should rush in to straight away. There needs to be some groundwork done first with core strength, mobilisation and education on which muscles need to be working to do the movement.





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