This is the start of a series on breaking down exercises so you can be SAFER and MORE EFFICIENT in your movements.
I think it is safe to say that the majority of us begin our fitness journey, not by taking a course on the muscles and functions of the joints and so on, but by joining a fun class or copying what we see in a magazine here and there...yes? I know that was the start for me! I was in a Spin class not knowing anything about form, safety, hydration, or resistance. Just brought a water bottle with me and trusted the instructor when he said "turn the resistance up" and hoped I did it right. Really, though, I did not learn how I should check that my knees are vertical to my heel when setting up the bike nor the proper way to be up out of the saddle...I just copied the instructor best I could. Pilates, too. Why did my neck hurt during class? The instructor says take it your own pace, so that must mean faster is better? Well no one told me otherwise until I was in a course to become an instructor!
From then on, I have focused on SAFETY and EFFICIENCY over everything else in my classes. Very challenging classes? Oh yes. But safe, and maximizing every minute.
We don't have time to waste as I take forever to show the next exercise, nor do you want to hear me show six variations before you can finally begin. I need to explain quickly, concisely, and clearly to get you started, and then add an array of digestible tips along the way. That is a huge part of my responsibility as an instructor and trainer!
But, I know that many times this doesn't happen in classes we find. Or we are on our own, no class or trainer, and trying to copy what we have seen, not necessarily knowing the components. This can lead to slowing us down by creating poor habits and leading to INJURY.
Talk about NOT being efficient OR safe!
So in this series of posts, I will do my best to break down common exercises, as well as show a number of variations for you to modify, progress, or simply change it up to find the appropriate challenge for you!
Please feel free to comment or send me an email with questions. Happy to discuss anything further.
Starting here with LUNGES.
Before I go further, though, I must state-- One, I am going through the most common forms and most common instructions. There are indeed variations on these, and advanced athletes may do versions that may not look 'normal' that are still safe. For our purposes, though, there is no need to try a version that could result in injury, especially without a proper trainer at your side.
Two, the standard disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and anything you try from these posts are at your own risk. I am sharing my experiences, but each person is recommended to consult with someone in person when they can. If something doesn't feel right, figure out why.
Okay, here we go:
What do lunges work?
See the image below. I love this one, as it shows both the ACTIVE MUSCLES as well as the muscles that are the STABILIZERS. The active muscles are the ones normally pointed out when summarizing the benefits of the lunge-- in vernacular, the quads (this includes what we refer to as the hip flexors as well), the hamstrings, the core.
What is the proper form for a basic lunge?
-big step back with Right leg, keep Right foot from turning in or out as you dig the ball of the foot into the ground, heel high
(be gentle when you step the foot back, no slamming into those toes!)
-lower Right knee toward the ground, Keeping Left knee BEHIND Left toes
-squeeze in the glutes and a tuck of the abs as you straighten the Right leg
-repeat, lowering down and lifting up like an elevator (down and up, not forward and back)
(NB: there is a version where the spine if hinged forward slightly, but the above is what I want you to focus on for 99 out of 100 times you'd be presented with a lunge variation.)
In the video, I explain the LUNGE and give variations-- and no, I don't sound that sweet when leading a HIIT class, so enjoy it now ;-)
Again, holler with questions or send me videos of you practicing lunges with a bit smile of pride!
Have a great day,
Everything at your own risk. Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Exercise can be dangerous and can result in personal injury. Any injury sustained from this video or others is solely the responsibility of the exerciser. Kate Cherichello disclaims any liability from injury sustained from the use of posted videos and exercises. It is recommended to consult a physician before beginning any training program.