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Lunge variations/alternates, for the knee impaired?

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Old 06-29-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default Lunge variations/alternates, for the knee impaired?

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!
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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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*.

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Old 06-29-2008, 11:31 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:32 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:07 AM   #5
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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. 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.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:34 AM   #6
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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...
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:34 AM   #7
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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=

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Old 06-30-2008, 12:38 AM   #8
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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!
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:46 AM   #9
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Those are nothing compared to some of the things Mel has come up with on these boards. She's the killer! I'm a kittycat.

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.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:08 AM   #10
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Oh, that ain't right! Cool that you can even DO that, though! I'll get there, one way or another, dangit!
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:41 AM   #11
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I think you guys scare me.

That is all.
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:07 AM   #12
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Hang on this board long enough, it could happen to you, Zinks. Seems like it's contagious.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:04 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:52 PM   #14
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Do lunges with your front foot on a small step bother you? When I was struggling with mine these worked.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:01 PM   #15
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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. Now that's doing it till failure. Graceful I am not.
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