If you ask the average person what a lunge is, they will probably give a different response than we would at Fit Societe.
In this post, we are going to talk about some of the basic multi-directional lunges we use (moving in three planes of motion), and how we add different drivers to keep lunges fun and dynamic. We also talk a little bit about injury prevention and mechanics, so we can put it all together. These lunges are so versatile and can be used to really improve an athlete's performance, and even more so with a good understanding of WHY you are doing it!
Lunge Loading Mechanics
Understanding the general mechanics of a lunge and what you should feel as an athlete or see as a coach is crucial because these loading mechanics mimic the way we move every day. The natural mechanics of gait (the way we walk) are one of the main ones we think of when applying a lunge as an exercise or assessment tool.
When performing a lunge, we want to make sure that we see good loading mechanics all the way from the foot to the knee and then to the hip. As we hit the ground, the ground reaction force is going to change what happens up the chain, so we want to break the movements down and make sure they're performed correctly.
Your front foot should be positioned straight and forward, with the knee over the toes. If the foot is collapsing over onto one side, the knee will also follow, putting you in a vulnerable position for an injury such as an ACL tear. Here's how your lunge should look!
It's essential to look at every component of your lunge to make sure you're accounting for injury prevention. After you have checked for good loading mechanics, you want to check that your tibia translates forward and over the toes. That will give you the ability to start training your ACL; the ACL stops the translation of the tibia coming off the femur.
The lunge is such a versatile movement that we can switch up by incorporating pivots and multiple planes of motion as well as adding different drivers to vary and facilitate specific biomechanical reactions, whether that's to help with injury prevention or even just increasing the intensity for performance. These variations are great for warm-ups, circuit exercises, or even mobility and recovery.
It's common that in your daily life, you will be performing lunging movements in a variety of ways, especially if you're an athlete. We don't move in perfectly straight lines; we move dynamically. We pivot, we turn, and we reach. You should be training in the same way that you're moving, so incorporating dynamic movements and pivots into your lunge matrix is a great idea for optimal training.
Feel free to put multiple lunge movements together, add some twists, and move however feels comfortable, as long as you follow proper loading mechanics and watch your form! Not only will this help you build strength and improve your athletic performance, but lunging in different directions will help your balance, too. If you're interested in even more 3D functional movements to try, take a look at our movement library. If you're not a member, sign up to gain access today.
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Ariela Liberman is a Marketing Associate and a staff writer for Fit Societe, with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, she is a Southern California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.
Reviewed by Scott Ryan, BS, CSCS, CF-L1, CF-W, BFRC, a professional coach who specializes in Applied Functional Science, Strength and Conditioning, CrossFit L1, and Olympic Lifting. He attended New England College in New Hampshire obtaining a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Biomechanics. He has a passion for injury prevention and coaching, as he was a collegiate athlete who suffered sports injuries. His goal is to get athletes back to optimal shape as well as prevent future injuries.