The Step-back Lunge is a multi-purpose exercise that targets balance, coordination, core stability, and strengthens the lower body muscles (quadriceps, hip, buttocks, hamstrings and calves).
This movement is essential in many sports and helps us walk backward, which we may do when helping someone to move, while carrying a heavy object or getting quickly out of the way.
1. Stand tall with good posture.
2. Step 2 to 3 feet back with one foot, put the toes on the ground and keep the heel off the floor, as shown in photo above. (A person under 6 feet will step back about 2 feet; someone taller may step back around 3 feet.)
3. Balance and steady your body. Your arms can hang alongside your body or bent with your hands held in front of your chest. Bend both knees, slowly lowering the stepped-back knee to an inch or two from the floor (see photo below).
4. Hold the bottom position for 2 to 3 seconds while the front foot is planted firmly on the floor. Both legs should form 90-degree angles. Then slowly extend both knees to rise back up to the start position. Maintain your posture and alignment throughout the movement. Do not be concerned about your front knee pushing forward toward your toes.
5. What we do not want is the front knee falling inward, which is a problem and will lead to knee pain and other issues. Avoid rounding your shoulders or moving your arms forward. Keep your head and neck erect and don’t arch your lower back or turn out your feet.
If you experience pain in your lower back, knees, hips, ankles or head and neck, do not do this movement.
For intermediate or advanced level exercisers, if you are unable to hold the bottom position for 3 seconds during 8 reps, there is a weakness in your body or there may be a flexibility or mobility issue.
A movement screening assessment can determine the roadblocks and the necessary solutions.
Disclaimer: Do not begin any physical activity described in this column without prior approval from your health care professional.