Ten Lunge Progressions: How To Build Strength Without Hurting Your Knees

The following ten lunge progressions are designed to help you overcome pain and build strength and confidence in your body’s ability to do what you love. The lunge is one of the best movements to build lower body strength and improve side to side imbalance (especially if you’ve had an injury or surgery on one leg). Which is why it needs to be part of any plan to overcome pain and build the strength to live active and healthy lives.

However, it can be tough to get started for anyone with knee pain or new to strength training. In this article ee’ll show you ten lunge progressions to help you build strength and confidence in the movement so you can work your way up from a beginner to an absolute pro.

The Step Up

Anyone with knee pain or who feels nervous with the lunge exercise should start with the step up. It trains the same pattern in a much safer environment and will help you begin to get comfortable and confident in your body’s ability to lunge.

The Assisted Split Squat

As we begin to reintroduce the lunging movement we like to start with assisted split squats. The split stance allows you to have two points of contact for better balance and the TRX allows you to use your arms to create a safer environment to learn the movement.

Split Squat

Once you feel comfortable with the assisted split squat it’s time to move on to a body weight split squat.

Assisted Reverse Lunge

Now we can start moving to the lunge movement. We always start with reverse lunges because it’s a little safe on the knees.   Keeping with the TRX bands for assistance allows us to feel safe as we continue to get stronger.

The Reverse Lunge

Slightly harder than the split squat as we now have only one point of contact on the step back and requires a little bit more balance, control and strength.

Reverse Lunge With Balance

Adding a balance challenge to our reverse lunge is a great way to safely progress this movement. As with the split squat, and revers lunge you can start using assistance until you feel confident in the movement.

Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge

Sink deeper into the lunge to build even more strength with the front foot elevated reverse lunge. This movement adds an eccentric challenge that helps build strength and protect our joints.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Moving on to one point of contact adds even more of a balance and control challenge to our lunge movement. On of the best ways to build unilateral strength for improved muscular balance in our body.

Forward to Reverse Lunge

An advanced lunge progression that should only be performed if you feel extremely confident with your lunge movement. From a standing position step your right foot forward into a full lunge position. Press off your front foot and immediately move into a backward lunge. Repeat for one minute each side.

Weighted Variations

Once you’ve built a solid foundation and confidence in certain movements you can start adding adding weight to increase resistance and build strength. Split squats, reverse lunges, and Bulgarian split squats can easily made more difficult by adding weight.

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Solving Pain With Strength: An Approachable, Step-by-Step Strength Program For Adults Limited By Joint Pain

Looking for more exercises ideas to help you overcome pain and get back to enjoying life? Check out our other articles to help you SAFELY build strength…without stressing your joints:

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