I received an email recently and it is a common one.
Hi Lauren I am finding the exercises easy to follow but was wondering if there is an easier way to do lunges as I have a few problems with my knees. Thanks!
There are a few things you can do to help get rid of this pain, and like almost always when you are suffering during an exercise it has mostly got to do with technique. Follow these three steps and lunge your way to pain free.
1. Modify and Correct The Exercise
If you are having pain in your knees during the lunge, the chances are that you aren’t stepping out far enough. When you step out to lunge, you drop down and your knee slides forward you are creating an amazing amount of shear force. Step out further, make the angle a lot more knee friendly and create a lot less knee problems.
Personally I have a lot of problems with this thanks to a nasty underside of my knee cap, and stepping out further almost always eliminates that sheer force and means I can get the exercise done pain free.
As you can see in the picture, my leg is far enough out in front of me so that my knee does not move over my toe, and I don’t place a ton of shear force through the joint.
2. Strengthen With Other Exercises
If you are struggling with the lunge, you can get your quad strength up to speed with other exercises. Sometimes it can be a lack of strength and control at the knee, and once that is sorted out the lunge won’t pose a problem anymore.
My favorite is the step up. This puts your knee in a really good position with your shin vertical and takes the stress off. If you still get pain doing lunges, start doing step ups. You can do them at home, or you can do them in the gym with weight on your back.
3. Tennis Ball Work
Nothing refers pain down to your knee more than a tight rectus femoris. You need to get on your tennis ball and work through the muscle. Trigger points in the area and simple tightness can pull on the tendon and create issues at the knee.
Work on the tennis ball, rolling up and down the muscle as well as bending your knee once you hit a trigger point. You can find out more about how to use a tennis ball to help your pain here.