Build your strength one leg at a time with the reverse lunge.
The reverse lunge is a great introduction to single-leg training, which is key for runners as running is performed one leg at a time (duh!). Without instruction, many perform lunges with poor weight distribution between the feet, poor stride distance and poor posture. Here are two tips to clean up your reverse lunge.
Figure Out Where the Front Knee Should Be
Stand behind an exercise bench. Touch the bench with your right knee. Take a big step backward with your left leg. Land on your toes, and bring your left knee toward the ground as if you were going to kneel. Keep your chest up but lean slightly forward. Just before your left knee touches the ground, stop; notice where your right knee is in relation to your right ankle. It should be just over your shoelaces and more or less at a 90-degree angle. When performing a reverse or forward lunge, this is the correct knee position you need to achieve. The bench prevents you from moving your front knee too far forward—let the bench be your guide!
Figure Out Where the Rear Thigh Should Be
After you figure out where the front knee should go, you need to put the rear knee and hip in their appropriate position. Hold a low cable handle with 20-30 pounds selected or hold a band attached to a stable anchor point. Take a big step backward with your left leg and bring your left knee toward the ground. Achieve the 90-degree angle with your right knee (discussed above). Hold the bottom of the lunge and do not let the band pull you forward—you should feel like you’re sitting back into the lunge. Next, push your left hip forward and create a nice stretch in front of your left thigh and hip. This is the optimal hip and thigh position for the rear leg in any reverse or forward lunge exercise. Use the low cable handle or band to guide you down into this stretched position at the bottom of the lunge (see video above for a demonstration).
RELATED: Troubleshooting the Front Plank
About The Author:
Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS is a runner, strength coach and owner of JKConditioning in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon specializes in strength training distance runners and is currently in the middle of preparing a strength training resource for runners. Stay in touch by checking out www.StrongerRunner.com and www.JKConditioning.com.