T Nation

Your Take on Lunges


#1

Hey coach,

Can you please give your take at lunges?
Especially reverse lunges, I've heard some bad stories about regular ones. The meniscus seems to get pissed of by them.

Thanks in advance, coach!


#2

[quote]Panopticum wrote:
Hey coach,

Can you please give your take at lunges?
Especially reverse lunges, I’ve heard some bad stories about regular ones. The meniscus seems to get pissed of by them.

Thanks in advance, coach! [/quote]

Lunges have never been an exercise that have a big place in my programs. It’s not so much because they are dangerous. They are no worse than sprinting or playing sports so I wouldn’t worry about that at all. It’s more like they are rarely done properly. When I coach someone live I could use them since I’m watching every rep. But when writing an online program I can’t do that.

Most people bend their torso forward too much when they step forward. As a result they use a lower back “whipping action” to get up instead of driving with their leg,

The backward lunge is a bit better in that regard.

But when I want to do unilateral work I normally use the Bulgarian split squat.


#3

Thanks Coach!

They are pretty trick indeed. BSS will cut it for me. Both point out my poor stability and tight hip flexors. Not planning on messing my back up too much with something harder than I realistically can handle.

Before I jump onto the bandwaggon…
Do you feel single-leg work has great benefits for athletes/general strength athletes?
Some coaches point it out as a primal movement pattern, some call it just plain useless. You seem to use it time to time, as an accesory.
Curious if the would benefit most trainees.


#4

[quote]Panopticum wrote:
Thanks Coach!

They are pretty trick indeed. BSS will cut it for me. Both point out my poor stability and tight hip flexors. Not planning on messing my back up too much with something harder than I realistically can handle.

Before I jump onto the bandwaggon…
Do you feel single-leg work has great benefits for athletes/general strength athletes?
Some coaches point it out as a primal movement pattern, some call it just plain useless. You seem to use it time to time, as an accesory.
Curious if the would benefit most trainees.
[/quote]

I’m a middle of the road kinda guy.

I tend to believe that every tool can have its place in a program at one point. It’s just a matter of understanding what a specific tool can bring to the table.

The coaches who deem single leg work “useless” tend to be those who believe that strength is the only important thing. I value strength over most qualities, but it’s not all there is. For example very few people can do only the big basic lifts and have no lagging muscle groups. Most people who only do the big lifts all the time will eventually develop imbalances.

Is single leg work a good way to build maximum strength? I do not believe it is. Sure you can overload a specific muscle or group of muscles, but the overall loading on the body is not high enough to develop overall strength maximally. Is isolation work a good way to train for strength? I don’t believe it is. I know plenty of people who can use a lot more weight than me on triceps extensions, pec deck and front DB raise but I can outbench them by 80lbs.

However these two tools can be useful to fix a weak area or to prevent an unbalanced development.

The big lifts will always be my main movements. And I tend to prefer bilateral exercises for my main assistance work. BUT if the issue to fix requires, or is more effectively fixed with unilateral movements, I will use them.

Most of my crossfit athletes do Bulgarian split squats at least once a week. It is often part of their “activation” program to prepare for their workout.


#5

Thanks coach!

Reasonable as always. BSS could help pry my steel hip flexors open, do some good for stability and probably help with some hammies/glutes/quads without the heavy spinal loading. I shouldn’t be shooting a pr for it. I will use it as an accesory probably.