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4 Dumbest Lunging Mistakes Sabotaging Your Leg Growth

Stop Doing These!

Posted by Scott_Herman - August 12th, 2019

Today we’re bringing back the dumbest mistakes series and we are going to cover LUNGES. Second to maybe only squats, lunges are an amazing lower body exercise to help build muscle in your legs and the added benefit here is that they are going to be a lot easier on your hips and knees. Now listen carefully! Falling victim to ANY of the following mistakes results in two things:

  1. Less overall muscle gain because you don’t understand how to maximize the exercise.
  2. More chance of injury because your form is garbage!

Mistake #1 – Failing To Align Your Ankles With Your Hips & Knees

This is THE mistake that will get you injured. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day, you will hear something pop or click in your knee and it won’t be good. Unlike the squat, lunging properly requires left-to-right balance and stability and if you don’t own that stability, chances are your knee is going to travel in the wrong direction. Ideally, you want your knees, hips and ankles all to be in a straight line throughout the movement. You want your knee to keep tracking over your ankle and you want your hips to be square especially as you descend. But what happens to most people is that hip stays higher than the other which creates a left-to-right pelvic tilt which can lead to an injury or imbalance over time.

So how do you fix it? Well that’s easy, ditch the dumbbells and use just your bodyweight. Then, I want you to also ditch the conventional lunge where you lunge forward and instead, perform the reverse lunge. You will have much more control over the reverse lunge and there is far less force and impact on your knee as you step back. Proper form is very simple here. Just take a small step back and descend straight down while keeping your chest up and maintaining 90-degree angles with both legs.  Go as low as you can before your knee touches the floor and if by a mirror, check to ensure your front knee is above your ankle and your back knee is in-line with your back hip. Ten return to the starting position and repeat.

Mistake #2 – Letting Your Spine Collapse

Failing to keep your core tight is BAD, on any exercise. I don’t see this as much with bodyweight lunges, but as soon as most people grab a pair of dumbbells it’s like the extra weight causes more forward momentum and you start to see a lot of rounded backs and knees blowing past toes. Now some people might say they’re leaning forward to engage more glutes and less quads, but even so you should still be able to remain in an upright position with zero spinal flexion. Core activation is key, so take in a breath just like you would when you squat or deadlift before each rep.

Mistake #3 – Taking Too Long Of A Step Forward

Maximizing the effectiveness of a lunge is all about leverage and range of motion.  The wider your stance, the less your back knee has to travel to reach the floor which drastically reduces the range of motion of the exercise. Plus, since your front knee will be so much farther in front of your hips, you won’t have the leverage necessary to push and return back to the starting position with a heavy load.

So, the ideal step is the step that helps you form 90-degree angles with both of your knees. But let me take it one step further. The next time you lunge, I want you to almost feel like you’re LEANING BACKWARDS as you step forward. This will keep you from going into spinal flexion and also from taking too large of a step forward.

But the opposite is also true. Don’t take too shallow of a step either. This doesn’t happen often, but if you feel like you are balancing on your toes the entire time, you need to step forward a bit more.

Mistake #4 – Not Mixing It Up!

Any exercise can get boring over time right? Well, maybe not the bench press, but that’s because we all love chest day. But when it comes to legs, like many of you I need to switch it up to keep things interesting. So if forward lunges have been a staple exercise in your training for quite some time now, here are a few variations you can try to change things up and possibly spark some new leg growth.

  • Reverse Lunge, which we mentioned earlier in the video.

  • Three-Dimensional Lunge where you are stepping forward and side to side.

  • Walking Lunge which can be done with bodyweight, dumbbells or a barbell.

  • Barbell Lunge & Twist where you rotate your torso at the bottom position of each rep.

  • Overhead Lunge which is when you lunge while holding dumbbells or barbell overhead the entire set.

  • And lastly, the Alternating Jumping Lunge which CAN be done with weight, but is more of a speed movement. So if you use added weight, just be very careful of course.


All these variations will keep your body functional, healthy and injury-free, plus, they’re all great exercises for building up your glutes and hamstrings as well as your core!

Related Videos:

5 Dumbest Squat Mistakes Sabotaging Your Leg Growth! | STOP DOING THESE!

8 Dumbest Deadlift Mistakes Sabotaging Your GAINS! | STOP DOING THESE!

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