Lunges – Are They Bad For You?

Knees ache. You have a tough time getting up, running or just moving around. You’ve been exercising, icing, heating and stretching. But nothing seems to be helping the situation. Could it be that your exercise is what’s making them hurt?

Our knees are the largest joints in our bodies. There’s also a ton that connects in and around the knee. Your hamstrings, quads and calves are all muscles that connect or insert around the knee. There’s tendons, bones and ligaments all around there, including and not limited to the ACL, MCL, PCL & LCL. All of those combine to form the knee, and help it with it’s stability and strength. Making it one of the most complex parts of our bodies.

Complicating everything is our desire to alleviate our knee pain. We take medication and various other suggestions to try to fix the problem. However, part of the problem could be lying in the exercise you’re doing, lunges.

What are lunges? There’s many types that you are possible doing. Side lunges, forwards lunges, backwards lunges, knees forward lunges, knees back lunges, etc. Soooooooooo many variations out there.

Lunges are in many exercise programs and plans. They work all of the muscles in the lower body, and can be very effective, if used correctly. But they put a ton of pressure on the surrounding muscles and tendons. If you’re using a step as part of the exercise, most of the time your entire weight is pressing down on your stepping leg as you bend. If you haven’t strengthen the muscles and area around the knee, that’s going to create a lot of pressure on your knee. If you haven’t properly strengthened that are, you could strain something in there. And unless you’re willing to sit around and do nothing for a few weeks, it’s going to take a long time to heal.

There may be better options than lunges to work your legs. Recently we’ve moved a decent amount of our clients to using elastic bands for many of their exercises. You can incorporate a ton of different exercises with a band, and work all of the same muscles that lunges do. Sure, you need to do a few more exercises. But if your knees don’t ache, isn’t it worth it?

Always step back from your pain and look at it as a whole. The problem may not always be what you think it is. It may be worth it to invest in the professionals to help you zero in on the problem, and move towards a better way of living.