Lunges

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Lunges

Post by Jungledoc » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:52 pm

Biomechanically, what's the difference between standard lunges and reverse lunges?

Intuitively, it seems to me like they'd be pretty similar. You stand, step forward with one leg. You are now standing on both legs, one ahead of the other. You go down until the back knee touches or nearly touches the floor, then stand back up so that you're standing on both legs, one ahead of the other. Then you step back.

OR, you stand and step backward with one leg. You are now standing on both legs, one ahead of the other. From that point on, it seems like the very same exercise to me. How does the direction of the initial step change it from a quad dominant to a PC dominant exercise?

I'm just asking, here not arguing. I actually have no opinion, just confusion. And I haven't done reverse lunges on any regular basis to compare them.

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Post by caangelxox » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:58 pm

reverse lunges more posterior chain and forward lungers are more anterior chain. The reason is because stepping backwards requires more core, glutes, and hamstrings to keep you balanced. stepping forward requires quads, hip flexors, and your core as well. It also works posterior chain too, but forward lunges gets more quads. At least that is what it feels to me when I perform these. Backward lunges are harder to balance than forward lunges. Forward lunges are easier for me because I am a bit more quad dominant.

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Re: Lunges

Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:31 pm

Jungledoc wrote:Biomechanically, what's the difference between standard lunges and reverse lunges?
I don't know the specifics of the differences biomechanically between standard and reverse lunges, but the training effect for both exercises is the same - a short step emphasizes quads, and a long step emphasizes glutes and hamstrings.

I've always found it easier to do reverse lunges when balancing a barbell on my shoulders - the torso doesn't move as much with reverse lunges as it does with forward lunges. Keeping my torso upright is my biggest challenge with lunges. If I do walking lunges, I use dumbbells. Walking lunges are about 90% of my forward lunging.

BTW Doc, remember this thread?

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:36 pm

Doc,

As I understand it, the main difference is what muscles provide the deceleration. The net effect is supposed to be that the knees suffer from less decelerative stress in a reverse lunge, because they don't have the weight of the body coming behind them when you put your foot down. Instead of stepping forward and planting the foot, weight coming forward into that stepping foot and knee, you step back, touch the toe, and then bend the knee down to the floor.

I'm not certain on this. I know reverse lunges feel easier on my knees than either forward lunges or static lunges, which is why you see so many in my log. The DeFranco's guys love them too, I've seen reverse walking lunges used there but haven't seen many forward lunges.

When I get up tomorrow I'll dig around more and see what else I can find.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:25 pm

pdellorto wrote:I'm not certain on this. I know reverse lunges feel easier on my knees than either forward lunges or static lunges, which is why you see so many in my log. The DeFranco's guys love them too, I've seen reverse walking lunges used there but haven't seen many forward lunges.
Kenny Croxdale brought up the reduction of shearing force on the knee when reverse lunging on the earlier thread. KPj also weighed in with his usual thorough analysis.

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Post by caangelxox » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:44 am

dont forget, theres lateral lunges as well to work those adductors! cant forget those

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Post by KPj » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:34 am

As Stephen said, whether a lunge or reverse lunge is quad or hip dominant depends mostly on stride length, and also how you centre the weight on your foot. If you're going for more glutes and hams, then weight on heels. Quads, then weight on mid-foot...

The most significant difference with reverse lunges is that by stepping back, there's far less tendency, if any, to move the shins forward.

They're more 'deccelerative' than a normal dynamic forward lunge because you're not 'landing' on the working foot. When people experience pain with lunges, it's normally the eccentric phase that screws them up in some way or another, which is where the significance of that is. It's really all about finding the right progression, or regression, for the person doing them. I wouldn't have someone reverse lunge if they couldn't do a static forward lunge (lunging 'in place'), for example, but I would have them reverse lunge before doing the dynamic forward lunge. This is assuming someone who's pain free but just can't lunge. You can set someone up on a normal static lunge with a wider stride so that the shin stays vertical. The point really, is that the reduced stress on the knee is due to the vertical shin.

Also, Doc, i'm not sure I picked up your description properly. But just to clarify, dynamic forward lunge would involve basically a big step forward, until you're in the bottom position. So, the working leg basically 'catches' your body weight. Static lunge would be taking a step forward, THEN starting the lunge (otherwise known as a split squat?). In a Reverse Lunge, you take a big step back until you're in the bottom position.

For loading up on lunges, I've been loving reverse lunges for the past year or 2, normally with a front squat grip. Do it off a step quite a lot, too.

KPj

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:40 am

pdellorto wrote:Doc,

As I understand it, the main difference is what muscles provide the deceleration. The net effect is supposed to be that the knees suffer from less decelerative stress in a reverse lunge, because they don't have the weight of the body coming behind them when you put your foot down. Instead of stepping forward and planting the foot, weight coming forward into that stepping foot and knee, you step back, touch the toe, and then bend the knee down to the floor.

I'm not certain on this. I know reverse lunges feel easier on my knees than either forward lunges or static lunges, which is why you see so many in my log. The DeFranco's guys love them too, I've seen reverse walking lunges used there but haven't seen many forward lunges.

When I get up tomorrow I'll dig around more and see what else I can find.
So when you reverse lunge, you don't plant the back foot? Just touch the toe and drop the knee? But still, if you step forward, shift the weight to the front leg, roll the back foot up onto the toe, then go down. It still seems to me like it would have the same effect.

The idea of decelerative forces on the front leg I'll have to think about. Maybe I'll just have to do more of both to understand.

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Re: Lunges

Post by Jungledoc » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:48 am

Stephen Johnson wrote:
Jungledoc wrote:BTW Doc, remember this thread?
No, I didn't, but thanks for reminding me. That thread discussed the different effects of each, but not so much about the biomechanical differences.

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:17 am

KPj wrote:Also, Doc, i'm not sure I picked up your description properly. But just to clarify, dynamic forward lunge would involve basically a big step forward, until you're in the bottom position. So, the working leg basically 'catches' your body weight. Static lunge would be taking a step forward, THEN starting the lunge (otherwise known as a split squat?). In a Reverse Lunge, you take a big step back until you're in the bottom position.KPj
Thanks KP.

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Post by Han » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:20 pm

So when you reverse lunge, you don't plant the back foot? Just touch the toe and drop the knee? But still, if you step forward, shift the weight to the front leg, roll the back foot up onto the toe, then go down. It still seems to me like it would have the same effect.
I also wonder about this - how much weight should be on the back foot? Should you be trying to minimise the push off the back foot and mainly push up off the front?

I think I have put too much weight on the back foot in the past, and sometimes get sore toes!

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:46 pm

If you're pushing hard off the back foot and the front foot, it's not very unilateral of an exercise is it? :wink:

Seriously, I think you can't avoid a small push, but the front leg is, at least in theory, the working leg, so it's better if you push as little as possible and drive the front foot down into the floor to get yourself back to standing.

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Post by caangelxox » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:44 pm

what are you guys opinions on lateral lunges and maybe even crossover lunges?

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:41 pm

caangelxox wrote:what are you guys opinions on lateral lunges and maybe even crossover lunges?
I'm not sure what crossover lunges are, but several years ago I did lateral lunges - wrong. As a result, I pulled my groin. :red:

Since then, I've chosen to train my adductors with more civilized exercises like sumo deadlifts and powerlifting-style squats.

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:44 pm

caangelxox wrote:what are you guys opinions on lateral lunges and maybe even crossover lunges?
I've done crossover lunges and lateral lunges as part of my warmup occasionally.

But generally my MCL/LCL don't like loaded sideways movements like that, so I never load them. Or go fast, either - I'll do 5-6 each side with deliberate movements, trying not to step to far, and then move onto other warmups.

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