Many people know they need to bend "right" but don't because it hurts their knees.
Bending right will not hurt knees. It will help fix one of the things that has been injuring them - bad bending habits which pressure and grind the joint.
Good bending will also give your knees the exercise they (and you) need.
Some knee patients are told to never "bend right" with a half-squat or lunge because it is bad for the knee. There are specific things about bending and straightening the knee that can increase certain kinds of pain, to be covered in future posts. Use your brain and try the following gently and safely. Done right, it should reduce knee pressure, not increase it.
How To Lunge:
- Stand with one foot far in front of the other. Both feet face forward.
- Feet remain normal width from side-to-side, not directly in line front-to-back.
- Lift your back heel. Don't turn the back toes outward. Look at your back foot and check.
- Tuck your hip under (click "neutral spine" label for posts explaining how). You will feel a far better stretch and strengthener.
- Bend both knees to lower straight downward. Don't touch back knee to the floor. Use leg muscles. Watch your front knee and keep it over your front heel, not sliding forward.
- Don't let your front knee sway inward.
- Keep upper body upright and straight.
- Lower and rise several times, then switch legs. Keep feet still, not stepping forward and back.
- To keep healthy knee positioning for the front knee, peek downward to see your front knee and foot.
- You should be able to see your front toes all the way through the bend.
- If your knee slides forward covering your toes, you are shifting weight to your knee joint and off your leg muscles. This is one of two common ways to increase knee pain while bending. Letting the front knee sway inward is another.
- Keep front knee steady over your front ankle, not sliding forward or inward. You will strengthen and stabilize your knees and legs instead of hurt them. You will feel more muscle use when you keep healthful positioning.
Lunge is a Lifestyle, not an Exercise to "do" 10 Times:
No need to go to a gym to do lunges. Use the lunge for daily bending around the house. It will add up to many lunges every day, built-in as fitness as a lifestyle. The posts How Often Should You Be Healthy?and Bending Right is Fitness as a Lifestyle give ideas of how to use healthy bending for normal daily life.
Benefits of the Standing Lunge:
- Strengthen leg muscles
- Strengthen the knee
- Stop harmful forces on the knees from bad bending
- Stretch the front of the hip of the rear leg
- Stretch the Achilles tendon and foot of the back leg
- Learn knee stabilization
- Practice balance
- Retrain healthful bending for daily life - transferring to function instead of just being an arbitrary exercise - free exercise all day
- Retrain straight upper body position for bending - more functional exercise
- Provide beneficial general exercise, warming which makes further movement easier, and healthful body movement.
Have fun practicing this now. You will need the standing lunge for tomorrow's Fast Fitness - Quick Warm Up. Enjoy.