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Author Topic: Lunges for adults?  (Read 1323 times)

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Offline MinnesotaJenn

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Lunges for adults?
« on: March 13, 2016, 12:01:36 AM »
Hi. 
I am 47 and really struggle with lunges.  Everything goes wrong.  I've been practicing the lunge position at home but not sure it helps?   Any other ideas on what I could do to improve?
Thank you!!!

Offline Query

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 12:49:14 AM »
I assume you know that a perfect skating lunge requires you touch the side of the boot, not the blade - which means the foot must be sideways - ideally rotated at the hip socket, like a Warrior II Yoga pose

  http://www.wikihow.com/Do-the-Warrior-II-Pose-in-Yoga

Except that a really nice skating lunge goes lower, and bends the knee more sharply than 90 degrees. (But! If you have a bad knee, ask your doctor about how much you can safely do! Deep knee bends can be bad for people with cartilage damage. I'm not sure if there is also a problem for people with ACL or PCL injuries, or muscle sprains.) Note that the picture at that link shows the back foot vertical, so the blade would touch - you have to go deeper to touch the side of the foot.

  https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/data/11817/medium/Colonial_comp_0408_lunge.jpg

(But with a smile, and don't look down! And touch as much of the side of the boot as you can, not just the front, if possible.)

There are lots of arm/back position variations, like

  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dVXRLVtOdDs/TpLg4mjGwQI/AAAAAAAADSA/gyCqww2AerM/s1600/Jeffrey_Buttle_2007_Skate_Canada.jpg

This probably doesn't help, but there is a gal at my rink who does very low sideways lunges during off-ice warm-up. When I try to go that low, I collapse. It requires real strength.

A typical (forwards-motion) skating lunge (which isn't sideways) is relatively easy for me, because it is at the limit of my flexibility, so I can't collapse. (Besides, I used to fence.) It would require more strength (tighten the muscles around your tummy) if I was super-flexible.

BTW, are you going as low as you can? - that might help, though I suppose you might not have the strength to come back up - and like I said, if you've a bad knee, ask a doctor. Also, if you have the flexibility to touch the back of your calf to your ankle, I think some people might think you were cheating.

A backwards-motion lunge is harder, because, for the same reasons, I often touch the blade instead of the side of the boot, so I jerk to a stop. I need to use all my strength (to extend that flexibility, and bend the ankle a bit) NOT to touch that blade. The blade isn't supposed to touch on a forwards-motion lunge either, but nothing terrible happens if it touches a little at first.

Because my current boots are suede, which is rough enough to have a lot of friction, I have to use boot covers to slide. (Which also prolongs boot finish.) Is your leather nice and smooth?

But your problem is much more likely balance, possibly exacerbated by insufficient lower abdominal strength (tummy muscles not tight enough). You could practice sliding in lunge position on a smooth floor and socks. But don't hurt yourself by bumping into kitchen counters.


Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 12:59:59 AM »
It takes a few months of practice for lunges to improve.

Offline riley876

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 02:09:47 AM »
You need good hamstrings to support the knee in deep knee bends.

Great exercises for hamstrings & general knee support:
- Pistol squats
- Donkey kicks
- Reverse stair climbs

Work up to it gently, hamstrings are easy to pull, and the various knee tendons are easy to overstress too.

Can I ask, are you pigeon-toed?  If so, then add frog stretches to stretch out sufficient external hip rotation.   Actually do this anyway,  since you'll need it for spread eagles.

Offline MinnesotaJenn

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 09:48:07 PM »
Thank you for the help. So much to think about, practice and learn!


Query - the links are very helpful. 


I think I'm a bit afraid to go low enough.  Not pigeon toed but will start trying some frogs too!


nicklaszio - thank you for reminding it takes patience and time. 

Offline Query

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 10:03:04 PM »
BTW, when I said you need to use and strengthen your tummy muscles to stabilize the position - I should have mentioned that, depending on your flexibility, you may also need to use and strengthen your lower back muscles. I.E., the whole "core" muscle group can be used to stabilize the position. (But because the position is near the limits of my backwards bend, I don't need to use lower back muscles much.)

The muscles that pull from the sides, like your obliques and psoas muscles, can also help stabilize the position. Use them in left/right pairs, to balance and oppose each other. That can also help pull your kneecap into proper alignment, so it doesn't come off-track and wear out your knee cartilage. (I had a knee tracking problem for a while, in deep knee bends.)

You need good hamstrings to support the knee in deep knee bends.

Huh? Quads support your weight, and bring you up. Hamstrings pull you down. Correct?

How are you using your hamstrings? Do you place them in opposition to the quads, to stabilize the position a different way than mine?


Offline riley876

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2016, 04:10:40 AM »
Yes, hamstrings are prime movers in knee flexion (i.e. pulling you down*),  but they do cross the knee joint and attach at either side of the top of the tibia.

- Which means engaging them supports the knee laterally
- And engaging them tends to pull the knee back, but only when your knees are well behind your toes **

To some extent they do fight the quads, but that's how you get stability.  It's fair easier to modulate pairs of opposing muscles than it is to turn muscles on & off at the point of balance.

* Also, being biarticulate muscles, i.e. they attach at the top to the pelvis, i.e. they cross BOTH the hip and knee joints.  i.e.  so they do hip extension too (i.e. pulling you UP from a leaned forward position).

** When your knee are over your toes or further forward, the quads do this better.   Try pistol squats keeping your knee over the heel,  you'll feel the hamstrings working.   As opposed to reverse stair climbs where the knees are well out past the toes, in which case the quads do the work.   Even so, the hamstrings are still opposing and thus stabilising it.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 12:55:39 PM »
Lunges also require a lot of glute strength (you'll feel it as you push back up), so you may want to do some gentle glute exercises to build some strength before straining them with lunges.  Fortunately, there are a number of exercises that strengthen both glutes and hamstrings so you get a 2-for-1 deal.

Offline holdontilmae

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 01:26:03 PM »
I would say be CAREFUL and work up to it SLOWLY. I wish I had taken my own advice, because I dislocated my knee trying to go too low on my bad side in lunge drills during club last week. It's not worth it!  :'(

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: Lunges for adults?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 08:02:47 PM »
One thing I've found that helps me, which my coach pointed me towards when I was having so much trouble learning lunges, is arm position. She mentioned that it was easier to balance if I lifted my arm on the side of the trailing foot towards the sky. I noticed it actually helped engage my core and prevented me from falling/turning to that side, which meant a lesser likelihood of losing my balance.