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How Far to Step With Lunges

How far should you be stepping down when doing lunges? Say, if you stuck out your right foot, should your goal be to make the right leg parallel to the ground, and the left knee come close to touching the ground?

Also, how many reps/steeps do you do for each set?

[quote]ti-83 wrote:
How far should you be steeping down when doing lunges? Say, if you stuck out your right foot, should your goal be to make the right leg parallel to the ground, and the left knee come close to touching the ground?[/quote]

Use a FULL pain free, not strain free (easy) ROM. I go all the way let that knee touch sometimes even pause to rid the stretch reflex.

Um depends on goals, load etc. vary it they all have there place.

Put your leading leg out as far as needed so that when you kneel down fully (fully being the back knee almost touches the ground), your shin-bone is more or less perpendicular to the floor.

Go with this “base” rule. Personally, I like to go just a tad closer so that my knee extends to about the tip of my shoe. But stay within this base range.

I always say “take a longer step than you want to take” and what I’m looking for is that the angle of the lead knee doesn’t go over 90 degrees at the bottom.

Why are you doing the lunges? If you want to work the quads through a full range of motion why would you only go to 90 degrees at the bottom of the movement? If you can go ass to grass on a squat, (which is much below 90) then why wouldnt you want to do the same on lunges?

Why should lunges and split squats be the only exercise where a full knee-flexion range of motion isnt utilized? I think at the bottom, you should be a good deal lower than 90.

The idea behind not going to extreme angles with the knees is more a traditional one… traditionally it’s always been thought of as safer not to.

Many say that that’s hooey these days and I can understand the reasoning behind it. But any of my clients who experience knee pain immediately flare up if the angle exceeds 90 degrees and are fine to pump them out if it doesn’t. For this reason, I get all my clients to try and keep this unless we are talking ATG squats or quad dominant leg press. Neither of which I use much.

You can do what you like with your knees, but this is why I do them this way.

Do you guys tend to use DBs or BBs for lunges?

I’m using the bar now, to help with balance issues. Of course, your balance could be so bad that you need to strengthen your legs with DBs before you can even move to the bar.

Walking lunges are sure as hell easier with dumbbells, too. Keep that in mind.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
The idea behind not going to extreme angles with the knees is more a traditional one… traditionally it’s always been thought of as safer not to.

Many say that that’s hooey these days and I can understand the reasoning behind it. But any of my clients who experience knee pain immediately flare up if the angle exceeds 90 degrees and are fine to pump them out if it doesn’t. For this reason, I get all my clients to try and keep this unless we are talking ATG squats or quad dominant leg press. Neither of which I use much.

You can do what you like with your knees, but this is why I do them this way. [/quote]

I understand what you are saying, however, I wouldnt consider already injured clients having pain when doing an exercise a good reason not to do the exercise. What you are basically saying is that you dont think the knee should travel past the ankle, when doing split squats and lunges. Look at anyone doing a proper front squat, non-powerlifting back squat, or one legged squat and you will see that the knee travels well past the point which you say is dangerous. In those exercises it is near impossible to avoid this. But it is possible to avoid this doing split squats and lunges, and that is the only reason this is even being talked about. If you arent letting your clients knee travel forward you are doing them a diservice (the uninjured ones) because they are not getting the most out of a quad dominant exercise. Would you do bench presses with someone that had bad shoulders?

Probably not. Well I guess that exercise is bad for everyone, just scrap it. Go tell the authors of the site your new found information.

Hahahaha “doing them a disservice”? They’re still doing lunges so I think they’re getting plenty benefit. And if it is helping their knees at the same time then I’m doing what I’m paid for. I have a duty of care and I’m not going to instruct anyone to do something in a way that I’m not confident is fine.

But by all means do what you like with your own knees.

It may shock you to hear that I minimise the knee angle with squats too. My poor clients. Squatting like that. Terrible. How can I sleep at night knowing that my clients squat with hips out and sit backward as much as possible?

One way I have my athletes do their lunges is with db’s. They do the full lunge, though the weight is lighter than normal. It is imperative that they keep their hips square and back in a strict upright position throughout the lunge. The lunge itself is full in that it the front leg is at least parallel and the trail leg drags the knee, so to speak.

From the lunge, they either complete an overhead press or front shoulder raise on the way up. The pace is a little quicker and they do it to a Tabata-like cadence: 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest.

We do this as part of their vertical jump training as well as developing some strength and endurance.

[quote]danmaftei wrote:

Walking lunges are sure as hell easier with dumbbells, too. Keep that in mind.[/quote]

Hell yes they are. I get done with a heavy set of BB walking lunges and feel like heaving every freakin set. Db’s are good but don’t come close.

I used to do the same thing. But I think avoiding making the quadricep muscles around the knee strong because some people have pain or because it seems precarious is what you are doing. I dont look at it like people that can do ATG squats or deep split squats, etc… are taking a chance with their body.

You should be doing split squats with clients having their front leg on a step so they are relatively deloaded and can get a full rom. Maybe even 2 steps depending on the level of the client. This way they will be able to get the benefit of the full rom without the stress they are unable to handle.

I generally prefer the 90 degrees rule. both leg close to 90 degree angle. and if i want a greater ROM, use a step I guess.
set rep is all about your goals like someone mentioned earlier.

[quote]tjun wrote:
I generally prefer the 90 degrees rule. both leg close to 90 degree angle. and if i want a greater ROM, use a step I guess.
set rep is all about your goals like someone mentioned earlier. [/quote]

Sure, I have done this before. One of the reasons I dont think it is the right way to do it is that I can use too much weight. At a time when I know my quads were not really strong at all, I could do 4 sets of 8 with 80’s. Form was fine and all. Did my quads get stronger? No. and its because using that form utilixes more hip extension, or about the same hip extension as going past 90, but much less knee extension.