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Lunges Hard on Knees?


I'll admit up front that lunges are my least favorite exercise.

Some believe that going to parallel (rather than above/below parallel) on squats can hurt your knees, because parallel is where your knees are the weakest.

Is the same true for lunges? You don't have the luxury of going below parallel on standard lunges, so what is the best solution?


They hurt mine. I can't seem to figure out a way to do any unilateral squat variation without something hurting. I've given up trying to fit in unilateral leg work.


Same. Immense knee pain, but really feel it in the quads... I might try Bulgarian split squats. They wouldn't load one knee up as much as you commence the lunging motion, right?


Me too. I can do all kinds of squats without any knee problems. Lunges cause agony. So I don't do 'em.


When doing lunges, what helped me was to step onto an elevated box or platform( height will depend upon how it feels to you) and make sure you land heel first. This helped me and eliminated a lot of stress on my knees.


I found the same thing but I have trouble with either my Piriformis or hip flexors with those types of variations.


huh? I don't feel anything at all in my knees when doing lunges and my knees are weird.

(In the past the liked to dislocate whenever they felt like it, even when sitting down!)


If anyone has read any Cressy or Mike Roberts or whoever those crazy guys are they would know about reverse lunges.

In a reverse lunge you step back rather than lunge forward. You can do these off a platform also and I find they don't give my knees any issues although I do wear knee sleeves which help with the impact on the floor.


One variation I like is to do them in the power rack and start from the bottom position. It forces you to really activate the leg muscles and decreases momentum and that seems to take some of the strain off the knee joint. Definitely pyramid up on these as they will likely be quite awkward the first time you try them.

If you don't already have some, neoprene knee sleeves are also a good thing to use to lessen knee pain from interfering with your leg training.


I don't get knee pain from lunges, but I do feel crackling and am not able to go anywhere near as heavy as when I do squat variations. It's like lunges put a laser focus on the knees themselves, rather than on the muscles you're trying to build.

Sounds like many people just don't do them. My quads get plenty of stimulation through squats, but are your hamstrings going to suffer unless you do lunges?


I wonder if doing a longer stride, with the knees further back from the toes, would help.

Would have to stretch the hell out of your hip flexors (someone I have to do every day, just for lunges or split squats)


When I started PL'ing, I discovered I had to focus on stretching my hams, hips and overall legs more often in order to have the flexibility needed to squat with a wide stance. The more I stretched, the easier the lunges became when stepping up on an elevated surface.


Check your stride, longer - less knee pain and shorter - more knee pain?