T Nation

Form on Lunges


I had a debate on form for lunges today with my training partner. When doing lunges with a barbell he stops his knee before making contact with the ground. I let my knee make contact with the ground with the thought that its similar to coming in contact with a box in box squats and exploding up as soon as you feel the box under you, except in this case feeling your knee hit the ground. So is either way necessarily right or wrong or one better than the other? thanks.


Why would you make the knee hit the ground? At the very least make sure it's a very soft surface. There's not a lot of padding between the patella and the surface.


the floor is covered with thick rubber padding so its not really a hard impact. As soon as i feel contact I push off.


When I use to do lunges, I always liked to do it so my knee was as close to the ground as possible, without touching. I felt like this made my legs have the most TUT, considering I'd be consciously trying to get it as close as possible.

Plus, sometimes I'd bounce off my knee a little bit. I said every bit of the exercise counts.

Why do lunges anyway? They're fun and grueling, but not great for progression in weights.


I'm not a BBer but my trainer said it was ok to touch, just not "klank" down. Just a gentle touch.


I'd say if you're bruising your knee by letting it hit the ground, like you see some guys do, you should probably not make contact. If the surface is padded then all good. I like dumb-bells for lunges, and I haven't had a problem with load so far, but I'm only just moving into the 30kg dumb-bell range for reps which should be bit more of a grip challenge.


It probably won't make any real difference. There might be a slight release of tension when you touch. I wouldn't say either is right or wrong but personally I'd come as close to the ground without touching it.


There are two ways to do lunges depending on what you are focusing on. If quads are your focus a smaller step is required. If hams are your focus, a longer step. With the longer step, you probably won't come close to touching and a closer one you will either touch or come real close. As far as actually touching, it doesn't matter as long as you are in control of the weight and touch down very lightly.


It is critical to understand this difference regarding lunges!!!!!
IMO the 'basic' short step lunge is a poor exercise for development. It has some value when included in a large circuit for cardio/endurance training or perhaps in a superset with a compound movement; otherwise there are more productive choices.
The 'Long Step' lunge (and I mean LONG), is a great exercise. The rear leg should be almost straight at the mid point of the movement(the knee may be close/in contact with the ground depending on hip mobility) and you push back/up from where you started- no 'walking' when performed this way. I agree that knee contact should not be an issue for most lifters providing the impact is gentle regardless of how they are performed.


A better option:

Keep your back leg straight and on your toes. Bend forward so that your hamstring completely covers the thigh. If you can't do this without your front heel coming up then use a 4in riser or higher. Say hello to your quads.

Better option #2: Bulgarian Split Squats. Do them. Love them. Watch your quads grow.


I bet you avoid barbell squats because it hurts your spine.


WTF does this mean?


WTF are you talking about.

BTW- if you want to go deep on the lunge and avoid making contact then just do it from a small step. I believe it was in a Cressey article on here. I've had some clients doing them lately and they love the exercise.

Better safe than sorry Brook when it comes to something that most people would just let it bang on the ground repeatedly


ps- the step is a reverse lunge however.