How To Grow A Runner: Lunges

Watch this video and learn how to get more out of your lunges with some simple tweaks to your technique.

Watch this video and learn how to get more out of your lunges with some simple tweaks to your technique.

Are you lunging properly? This common exercise finds its way into many runners’ strength-training repertoires, but it’s often misunderstood and improperly executed. With a little more understanding, however, and some tweaking to your technique, you can use the lunge to get one step closer to becoming a complete runner.

Let’s review:

Learning how to execute a proper squat establishes a good standard for what good spinal, hip, knee and ankle mechanics look like. For example, if a knee-forward squat is neither strong nor powerful, then we don’t want a knee forward lunge either—regardless of type of lunge we’re attempting. Why? Quite simply, it’s not strong and it improperly loads our quads, puts pressure on our knees and reinforces the very same movement habits we’re trying to break. We cannot understand a good lunge without first getting an education in squatting. To understand squatting, we need a little dose of external rotation and stability that the side step provides.

We’re still powering ourselves with two feet but having our back leg in extension further narrows our base of support and increases the range of motion demands, requiring even greater stability and core strength at the spine.


The lunge is a basic movement that teaches us the importance of rotation at the hips to stabilize our front leg (in flexion and external rotation) along with our rear leg (in extension and internal rotation).

Squatting and lunging will get us one step closer to becoming a more complete runner, but these exercises alone won’t make us strong. We need to further challenge the lunge by increasing the demands of balance, strength and range of motion. In our next video we’ll do just that by going vertical with the step-up.


About The Author:

Nate Helming coaches strength and mobility for national and international-level road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and ultrarunners at San Francisco CrossFit, as well as elite-level amateur runners and triathletes outside the gym. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter and check out his videos on The Run Experience YouTube channel.