Hi Uphill Athletes,
I’m hoping that someone could help out with a question about lunges. The lunge seems to be a great exercise for the mountain athlete. It’s a single leg exercise and trains the eccentric strength required for ski and running descents. It also seems safer and easier to learn than the classic, bilateral, barbell exercises.
So i’ve always had the lunge somewhere in my strength routine. But I’ve started wondering whether a particular type of lunge is better suited to my interests in mountain running and ski touring.
I’ve identified four types of lunge. I’ve been cycling through them all, but wondered whether you had thoughts on the relative strengths/weaknesses of each.
– The standard forward lunge. I read somewhere that this variation better approximates the eccentric movement in skiing and running. I find it the easiest lunge to do with good form.
– The reverse lunge where you step backwards. I think I read elsewhere that this is a safer movement, and better approximates movements you tend to do naturally (whatever that means). I can’t find the source for this now, and I’m sceptical. Do you still get the same benefits of eccentric training from the reverse lunge?
– The deficit reverse lunge. The stationary front foot goes on a raised platform. This has the potential advantage of increasing the range of motion of the exercise. That’s quite an appealing feature.
– The walking lunge. Often described as the most effective lunge and a favourite of Rob Shaul and co at the Mountain Tactical Institute. I’m speculating, but does it increase the range of motion at the top of the movement? Does the walking aspect also mean that you have to use more force to counter the “downwards” movement as you drop into the lunge? I would need a good reason to do them as they are a bit of a faff to do in busy gyms with limited floor space.
Of course lunges are also similar to split squats. Split squats seem to be pretty limited in usefulness, unless you are training for olympic lifting, but the “bulgarian” split squat, where the rear foot is elevated, might offer advantages over the lunge. However, I suspect you might lose some of the eccentric strength benefits.
Thanks to anyone who’s got this far – I’d be grateful for any thoughts on the different types of lunge!
P.s. I’m a big fan of TFNA, and have found this forum to be a great additional resource. Thanks for putting it together! Very much looking forward to the new book I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere.