Yesterday I received some really good feedback from fellow runners about the importance of squats. Almost everyone said squats were an integral part of their workout and that they have been very effective in preventing injuries. It was interesting to read about the many different types of squats people were doing: jump squats, one legged squats, bulgarian split squats, side squats, etc. One of my G+ friends, Otto, reminded me of the importance of lunges as well. After all, life is about variety, right? So it only seems fair that we give this equally as important exercise a mention in the blogosphere today…
Why should runners do lunges?
Just like squats, lunges target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. And just as there are many variations of squats, there are also many variations of lunges (with weights, without weights, walking lunges, plyometric lunges, etc.). You can use a stability ball, a bosu ball, or even a foam roller to assist with this exercise. The walking lunge can be particularly beneficial for runners because it stresses joint mobility, strength, flexibility, core, and challenges the cardiovascular system. Lunges also help to strengthen the hip flexors as well as hamstrings. Hamstrings are particularly important to the runner because as runners, we can build some pretty nice quad muscles. I mean, have you checked out your legs lately? What about your hamstrings? (Yeah, I haven’t checked them out either.) Although hamstrings aren’t nearly as impressive to look at, they are just as important. Runners often develop an imbalance between quadriceps muscles and the hamstrings, which can lead to a myriad of injuries. Lunges are one of the many exercises that can help strengthen your hamstrings.
As with all strength training exercises, technique is important. When doing a lunge, step forward and bend the knee to a 90 degree angle, directly over the toes. (Be sure not to overextend the knee as this can lead to added pressure to the joints.) This video from Livestrong does a great job of demonstrating proper technique:
And this video shows a couple of variations:
The soreness has finally subsided from my “Squat Saturday,” but that only means one thing. Time to do it again tomorrow! I’m looking forward to using everyone’s suggestions for different variations of squats, and I’ll be doing my lunges as well. Maybe by Saturday, I’ll be ready for a long run since my leg is finally starting to feel better. Here is my Garmin info for my run from today.
Happy Trails and Happy Running (and lunging!),