Featured Exercise #6: Reverse Lunge
Primary Muscle Groups: Glutes, Hamstrings
Secondary Muscle Groups: Quads
One of the most feared exercises around, the lunge is also one of the most beneficial. Feared because it is misunderstood and often performed incorrectly, and beneficial because of its functional application to most athletic endeavors. Most lower body movement that we perform, whether it is walking to our car after work or playing softball on the weekend occurs in the saggital plane (the vertical plane running from front to back dividing our body into left and right halves). The lunge works in the same plane, strengthening the major muscles responsible for walking and running. Since everyone performs one of these movements, if not both, then the lunge should be essential to your routine. This particular lunge is called the Reverse Lunge, and here is how it is performed:
Starting in the upright position, hands on hips or holding dumbbells at your side, step backward with one leg, bending the front knee, hinging forward with your hips, keeping the weight flat in the front foot and not letting the front knee come farther forward than the toe. The back should stay in a neutral position. Only the toe of the back foot should be touching the ground and the back knee should be slightly bent just above the ground. Tension should be felt in the hamstrings and glutes of the front leg. Using the front leg to do the majority of the work, stand and return to the starting position. Repeat for the required number of repetitions before switching to the opposite leg. You’ll know you are doing it right if you feel the work in the back of your leg more than the front. There should be no pain in the knee joint itself. If you feel any knee discomfort, make sure that your front knee is not coming farther forward than the toe and push your body weight back to the front heel. Your body should have a slight lean forward to it at the bottom of the motion, but the back should always remain neutral. Start with no extra resistance until you feel comfortable with the movement, then gradually progress to holding dumbbells at your side. Enjoy!