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, your 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 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 – Now remember that core strength is not just about having toned, flat abs! It includes your ability to stabilise your pelvis and hip joint. 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…with Pilates of course!


  • Tight Muscles and Stiff Joints – To be able to bend through the hip and knee joints to actually do a lunge, they need to be free from any movement restriction caused by tight muscles or stiff joints. When a joint doesn’t get moved through its full range of motion very often, it becomes stiff…a bit like a rusty door hinge! This makes it harder to move freely and can cause knee discomfort if you go straight in to a lunge without working on the tightness and stiffness first.


  • Muscle Imbalance and 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’. This translates to being able to pick and choose which muscles you want to work to do a movement and also having the control to dial the activation up or down.

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 every person should rush in to straight away. There needs to be some ground work done first with cores strength, mobilisation and education on which muscles need to be working to do the movement.

Then…start to work on strengthening those muscles and practicing lunges.

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