Weight and Resistance Training - Lunge variations/alternates, for the knee impaired?

06-29-2008, 10:51 PM
Okay, I cannot figure how to do any type of forward lunge without some serious bad feelings in the leading knee. I CAN do step-ups pain free. So, two questions:

1) What is the purpose of the lunge? Is it to work certain muscles, or is it mainly to challenge ones balance? If I knew what the purpose was, maybe I could come up with some alternates myself.

2) Not really a question, but any suggestions for alternates or baby-steps for the lunge impaired would be appreciated. Thanks!

06-29-2008, 11:03 PM
Squats are really good for building knee strength - I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true. My husband has really bad knees and doing squats has helped him a *lot*.


06-29-2008, 11:31 PM
What about static lunges? It's usually a good place to start for a beginner/someone who finds the dynamic kind too painful. Lunges work lots of different parts of the legs (mainly hamstrings and glutes depending on the type you do) which is why they're a great exercise. If you do try the static lunges just make sure you only go down as far as you can without hurting your knee and never let your knee go past your toe when you do the movement. I had knee pain for weeks and couldn't figure out what the cause was... apparently it was the cross-over lunges I was performing incorrectly.

06-29-2008, 11:32 PM
Squats are great, and I can do those, most days, without pain. It's the lunges (which means split squats down the road), with the leg straight out in front, even static lunges, that are painful. I wonder if this is a case of "if it hurts, don't do it," or if it's something important enough that I should find a way to work up to it, ignore the knee pain and do them anyway, or ??? I don't want to be a wimp, but I don't want to be laid up with a knee injury, either, so I'm not sure how to proceed.

06-30-2008, 12:07 AM
Jams: If the lunges bother your knees, please don't do them right now. I would continue to focus upon building the quad and hamstring muscles in exercises that do not cause knee pain. Perhaps add a little more weight to your current painfree leg routine if you need more of a challenge. Eventually you may find that you can add the lunges back into your program as you continue to gain more leg strength. But really, your not being a wimp by removing this exercise your being proactive by building more strength in ways that do not cause pain. You can always come back to it in a few months to test it out. :hug: When you are ready to test them out have someone qualified check out your lunges to make sure you are executing them properly as well.

06-30-2008, 12:34 AM
Thanks, Lydia! Maybe they will be easier later on, when I'm stronger and also have more of the weight off. I'll give it some time and try again later.

Rockstar, thanks for the reply...I missed that last time through, sorry! I can't do the static lunges yet, either, but as Lydia said, maybe later.

If they're to work hams/glutes, that might be part of my problem, because they're seriously underdeveloped right now, though the deadlifts are helping, and I've been slowly improving my flexibility in that area. I'm wondering if those Romanian DLs would be good, too? Maybe I could keep the step-ups, and alternate those with the Rom. DLs, for my "lunge" movement? Hmmm...

06-30-2008, 12:34 AM
A lot of people have difficult with forward lunges as they haven't quite learned how decelerate and they cannot stop the forward acceleration before placing stress on the joint. That's why it is usually better to start out with reverse lunges before forward lunges. It removes the forward acceleration. However, if static lunges are hurting you too, it's definitely a case of if it hurts don't do it.

There's still plenty of single leg work you can try instead. Step-ups, One leg deadlifts, one-leg good mornings, one-leg squats to a box. You can start with just sitting on a box set to parralel and standing up using just one leg and then try to sit back down as controlled as possible.

You may find this article of interest:

18 Tips for Bulletproof Knees- Mike Robertson
http://www.t-nation.com/article/performance_training/18_tips_for_bulletproof_knees%26cr= (http://www.t-nation.com/article/performance_training/18_tips_for_bulletproof_knees%26cr=)

06-30-2008, 12:38 AM
Oh, man, I knew you were gonna come at me with some one-legged torture exercises. Were you a skating coach in your former life, D? ;) I'll do it, though, if it will help. Thanks!

06-30-2008, 12:46 AM
Those are nothing compared to some of the things Mel has come up with on these boards. She's the killer! I'm a pussycat.

I know your torture. My trainer has me doing Barbell bulgarian Split squats with a front squat grip this cycle. They feel wonderful! As soon as I stop that is.

06-30-2008, 01:08 AM
Oh, that ain't right! :hug: Cool that you can even DO that, though! I'll get there, one way or another, dangit!

06-30-2008, 01:41 AM
I think you guys scare me.:fr:

That is all.

06-30-2008, 03:07 AM
Hang on this board long enough, it could happen to you, Zinks. Seems like it's contagious. ;)

06-30-2008, 10:04 AM
Don't worry Zinke. I could barely tie my shoes before I began this board. Some would argue that's why I still wear sandals everywhere. :lol:

06-30-2008, 01:52 PM
Do lunges with your front foot on a small step bother you? When I was struggling with mine these worked.

06-30-2008, 04:01 PM
Speaking of Bulgarian split squats. I was using just a 15 pound body bar this morning doing my last set when, I lost my balance and down went the bar and almost me with it. :o Now that's doing it till failure. :lol3: Graceful I am not.

06-30-2008, 04:48 PM
Ouch, Lydia! :)

I was doing static lunges with the bar a few weeks ago and did the same thing. It's less about hurting myself than about losing my dignity on that one - tres embarrassing! :)


06-30-2008, 05:51 PM
Truly! :high: It made a noise that I could hear even over my earbuds. :rolleyes: It was the day for it though. I spied one of the jr high kids trip over a dumbell. Poor thing he was really embarrassed. Just a gentle reminder not to let our attention drift too far or else we run the risk of tripping or running into a piece of metal that was not meant to be in contact with a body part quite that way. :D

06-30-2008, 10:49 PM
LG, you're a genius! :hug: I tried what you said, with the front foot on a low step, and it seems good. Yay! Now I can put static lunges in there, at least! And step-ups, which I can do...that should do me for a while in the lunge category.
Thank you, thank you! :cb: :celebrate:

Lydia, you are dangerous. I could tell that early on, you know. ;)

07-01-2008, 11:39 AM
I'm glad it worked for you.