If you’re experiencing knee pain when lunging, you’re definitely not alone. This is a common issue that many people face, and it can be quite frustrating. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to help alleviate the pain and get back to your workouts.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best strategies for dealing with knee pain when lunging. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

Let’s get started!

Description and Benefits of Knee Lunges

Knee lunges are a great way to strengthen the knee joint and the muscles around it. When done correctly, lunges can also be altered to help to improve flexibility in the hip flexors and develop great knee strength and range of motion.

However, knee lunges can also be counter-productive if not done correctly and result in bad knees if you have joint problems. The only way you would know if lunges were truly counterproductive for you would be having pain in the front of the knee when completing the movement.

To be fair, completing the lunge in a way that you see most often (video example) is solely for muscle development, not for typical movement or function. This is when the front leg only bends to a 90-degree angle.

If you are having pain with these types of lunges, and your goal is to work back into them, then you may consider using the ATG split squat as a rehabilitation tool to bulletproof your knees.

When the movement is altered to ensure you are bending your front knee way over your toes with as much elevation as possible, maintaining a vertical torso, and not allowing your back knee to hit the ground, then called an ATG split squat.

Take a look at an introduction to this exercise here.

You may be curious about my movement cues above because they are counter to any form you have come across for lunges. You would be correct. This is the optimal training range for joint health, in lunges. Many people think that regardless of your desired goal, you complete each exercise the same.

This is surely false.

If you are struggling with pain during lunges, you may be the perfect candidate to step back and re-evaluate this exercise for your body, and goals. While this great exercise is a phenomenal muscle-building tool, it will certainly not be the case for you if you are just continually hurting yourself while completing your sets.

Prior to jumping back into how you are training them, you should regress and train them for length and flexibility first. This will ensure you can dominate the entire range of motion and help bulletproof your lower body, priming you for future muscle development.

To learn how to start completing the ATG split squat (if you fit into this category), take a look at this video here and here.

4 Exercises that Improve Your Lunges

If you want to make sure your lunges are on point, there are a few key exercises you can do to improve your technique.

  • Tibialis raises: The tibialis anterior is a muscle located on the front and outside of your lower leg. It’s responsible for pulling your foot upwards and keeping your ankle stable. Performing tibialis raises will improve your range of motion, not only for lunges but also squats or other deep knee-bending movements.

To see an example of how to do this exercise, take a look at this video.

  • Step-ups: Step-ups help work on the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscle which is heavily recruited in sports and deep knee bending.

This video will demonstrate step-ups.

  • Reverse squats: reverse squats work all of the opposite muscles in a squat. The easiest way to describe this is “triple flexion” of the hip, knee, and ankle. To find out how to do this exercise, take a look at the video here.
  • Calf raises: Calf raises help to improve the range of motion at your ankle. This will translate to better knee movement and less knee pain when lunging.

This video provides a great demonstration of how to do this exercise correctly.

If you are struggling with knee pain when lunging, be sure to give these exercises a try. They can help improve your range of motion and knee stability, allowing you to complete the movement with the proper technique.

You should also get equipment specifically made for these types of workouts.


Why Lunges Lead to Knee Pain

There are several common issues during lunges that can cause sharp pain. One of the most common is muscle imbalances or weaknesses throughout certain portions of the range of motion. When the muscles around the knee are not balanced, it can put extra stress on the joint.

Another common fault is meniscus tears. These can occur when the knee is not aligned properly during a lunge, and they can cause joint pain and inflammation, as well as, joint popping and crunching which is uncomfortable.

Finally, another common problem is patellar tendonitis. This condition occurs due to inflammation of the patellar tendon that connects the knee cap to the shin bone. This can be caused by overuse, improper form, or weak muscles around the knee.

All of these issues can be mitigated using the remedial ATG split squat to bulletproof your lower body so that you can continue retraining without pain in the future.

Common Mistakes When Doing a Lunge

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing a lunge is not keeping their balance. This can cause the knee to collapse inward, leading to knee pain. One way to help mitigate this issue is to keep your legs, especially your front foot, in a parallel straight line at shoulder width apart. Maintaining your feet in the right direction helps lots of athletes stable and able to fully complete the movement.

The other key to maintaining your balance is mindfully flexing the glute of your back leg during the lunge. This gives you the most stability and control over the rep and is a good idea for all lunge variations.

Another common mistake is not keeping a tall posture. This puts unnecessary strain on the lower back and can cause knee pain as well.

Finally, people often try to progress to using weight way too early. It is important to build up strength and stability in the knee before adding any extra load.

If you are struggling with knee pain when lunging, be sure to give the ATG split squat a try. They can help improve your range of motion and knee stability, allowing you to complete the movement with good technique.

Lunge Variations

There are tons of different lunge variations. In this article, we have already discussed the ATG split squat and the normal forward lunge.

There is also the reverse lunge, side lunge, and static lunges. All these variations work on different muscles and have different groups of target muscles around the lower body.

How to Avoid Knee Pain When Lunging

Maintain Proper Form

Knee pain is a common problem, and it can be especially problematic for people who are physically active. A great option to avoid knee pain is to be careful when performing lunges and be able to identify your weaknesses.

This exercise is a great way to build strength and flexibility, but it’s important to avoid doing poor form depending on your goal for the movement.

Visit a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist can help to identify any imbalances in your muscles that may be causing the pain. They can also prescribe exercises that will help to strengthen the muscles around your knees and improve your range of motion.

In addition, physical therapists can teach you how to properly execute a lunge so that you don’t put too much pressure on your knees

Hire a Personal Trainer

Avoiding knee pain when lunging can feel like a love-hate relationship. On the one hand, you want to push your entire body to get better results. On the other hand, you don’t want to injure yourself in the process.

Hiring a personal trainer can help take the guesswork out of working out and improve your results while protecting your joints. A good trainer will design a workout specifically for you, taking into account your fitness level, goals, and any injuries or limitations you may have.

They will also be able to correct your form if you start to experience pain, which can help prevent further injury. If you’re serious about getting in shape, hiring a personal trainer is a smart investment that can pay off in both better results and fewer injuries.


Lunge with Care

Lunging is a lower-body exercise that can help to improve hip mobility and build lower leg strength. However, it is important to be careful when lunging, as there is a risk of injury if the exercise is not performed correctly.

Listen to your body and stop or regress if you feel any pain or discomfort. If done correctly, lunging can be a great way to improve lower-body strength and flexibility. Use the ATG split squat to return to pain-free lunges as quickly as possible!

Key Points

– knee pain when lunging is common, but there are ways to avoid and rehabilitate it

– proper form is key to avoiding knee pain – be sure to keep your feet in the right direction, flex the glute of your back leg, and maintain a tall posture

– avoid using weight until you have built up strength and stability in the knee

– try the ATG split squat to improve range of motion and knee stability

– visit a physical therapist or hire a personal trainer if you need help with form or rehabilitating knee pain

– lunge with care, listen to your body, and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort. When done correctly, lunging can be great for your lower body!

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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