The lunge or single leg movement pattern might be one of the least used patterns among people I have worked with. Everyone is so focused on doing everything on two-feet (bilateral) rather than utilizing the single leg movement pattern. I incorporate some form of single-leg variation in most of my programs. The single-leg is great for finding imbalances between the right and left sides. It is also a great strength, balance, and coordination builder. There are different variations that can be fit to help each individual.
Why Should You Use Single-leg Movements
As humans, we do a ton of things on one leg.from walking to running to stepping upstairs. The lunge is very common in sports as well. Sprinting out of the blocks in the 100m dash is a prime example. Or, turning on a cut in a football game is another example of the lunge position.
Some of the benefits of the lunge include:
- Fixing imbalances between legs
- Better balance
- Better stability
- Build strength throughout the legs
- Better coordination
How to Perform the Lunge/Split Squat
There are many variations of the lunge pattern. The single-leg split squat is the variation I start the majority of people off with. To perform the split squat you need to:
- Step back with one foot, so you are in a split stance. One foot in front, one in back.
- Do not set up too narrow right away. Have the width of your stance right around shoulder width or narrower.
- Brace your core.
- Drop your back knee toward the floor under control. Do not slam your knee into the ground. (Depth will depend on current ability and range of motion)
- Drive back up pushing through the floor with the front foot and back toes. This completes a rep.
Check out the video below for the split squat demo.
- Bodyweight split squat
- Bodyweight reverse lunge
- Bodyweight forward lunge
- Dumbbell reverse lunge
- Dumbbell forward lunge
- Barbell lunges
- Bulgarian split squats
- Front foot elevated split squats
- Other variations
With all the variations it is important to find the best for you to start with. One that allows you to move pain-free and still be able to progress toward your goals. If you struggle with your balance and coordination? Do you want to build strong, powerful legs? Then you should start implementing lunge variations into your programming. If you want guidance on this process click here to apply for coaching.