How To Do Runners Lunge Properly

The runners lunge is a leg, butt and hip exercise that works the lats, quads, glutes and hamstrings. It commonly used as a warm up exercises and in yoga sequences.

This is a no-equipment exercise that is both simple to perform and very beneficial to the lower body.

  • Kneel on your hands and knees on the ground. Your knees and toes make contact with the floor.
  • Place your hips directly over your knees and your legs at hip-width. Your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Engage your latissimus dorsi or lats.
  • Straighten your legs as lift your knees off the ground into plank form. Your chin should be tucked and your ribs down.
  • Squeeze the quads and glutes as you bring your right foot in between your hands.
  • Your right knee should be bent at a ninety-degree angle with your right foot flat on the ground.
  • Your left leg should be straight or only slightly bent not externally rotated.
  • Keep your weight mainly distributed on your right foot. You’ll need to balance your weight in this position.
  • Hold this position for ten seconds before bringing your right foot back into a plank.
  • Switch legs so your left foot goes between your hands instead. Yu may do up to ten reps for each of three sets.

MUSCLES WORKED BY THE RUNNERS LUNGE

THE LATS

The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle in the back. It’s quite close to the skin and can be seen in well-defined backs. This muscles helps in extension and adduction of the arm. It also raises the trunk upwards to perform activities such as climbing and swimming.

THE QUADS

The quadriceps are a group of muscles; The rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis. These muscles are located in the front of the thigh. They rotate and abduct the thigh and extend and stabilize the knee joint.

GLUTES

The gluteal muscles are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These muscles are located in the butt and hip. Working them gives you a toned butt and hips which is a huge plus for most female gym-goers. The glutes are responsible for hip rotation, abduction and extension.

HAMSTRINGS

The hamstrings are three muscles located in the back of the thigh. These are the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.

They are responsible for knee extension at the joint. They are often injured in sports so engaging them strengthens the muscle to reduce risk of injury.

BENEFITS OF THE RUNNERS LUNGE

IMPROVES FLEXIBILTY

The runners lunge stretches the hamstrings and glutes. This increases range of motion in your hips which consequently, gives you a more flexible lower body.

BUILDS MUSCLES

Your thighs and hips are likely to see an increase in muscle with progression. Your thigh and hip muscles i.e. the quads, glutes and hamstrings will see an increase in strength making them less susceptible to injury. The butt and hips will get toned giving you a great lower body.

The runners lunge also strengthens the knee so you can easily climb stairs and run without pain.

RELIEVES PAIN IN HIPS

If you usually deal with hip pain or tightness, then this is a great stretch for you. Stretching the hip flexors relieves pain and strengthen hip muscles to prevent further pain.

IMPROVES POSTURE

The latissimus dorsi is among the muscles worked in this exercise. This means the back is stretched while the spine remains neutral. Doing this can correct bad posture and improve body posture so long as you keep proper form.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE RUNNERS LUNGE

REVERSE LUNGE

Reverse lunges are a non-equipment work out that engages the knees, hips and legs.

  • Plant your feet at hip-width on the floor and hands on your waist.
  • Step back with your right foot keeping the left leg rooted in place. Your right knee is slightly bent in this position.
  • Bend the right knee to a right angle as you drop the knee close to the floor.
  • Pause as you balance your weight mainly on your left foot.
  • Bring your right foot forward as you move back to starting position.
  • Switch legs and carry out the same motion for the left leg.
  • You can do five sets for each leg, holding your lunge for ten seconds per rep.

GLUTE BRIDGES

Glute bridges are a common glute and hamstrings work out that stretches the hips. This makes it a perfect alternative to the runner’s lunge.

  • Lie on your back on a mat with your feet flat on the ground at hip-width apart. Your knees should be bent at an angle in this position.
  • Tighten your core and glutes as you push the hips off the floor. Avoid arching the back.
  • Your feet and shoulders should remain stationary.
  • Pause in this position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly lower your hips back to the floor. This is one rep; you can do ten for a set.

CURTSY LUNGE

The curtsy lunge is a great variation to the runner’s lunge that works the glutes, calf and quads.

  • Stand with your feet at hip-width and hands on your hips.
  • Step the right foot diagonally backwards as you hinge at the right knee. This drops the right knee close to the ground.
  • The left knee should also be bent at a ninety-degree angle as you pause for ten seconds.
  • Shift your weight to your left leg as you move your right leg back to starting position.
  • This is a single rep. Perform five reps for each leg in one set.

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PERFORMING THE RUNNERS LUNGE

ARCHING THE BACK

Rounding the back ruins your posture and may eventually cause you back pain. The correct form involves keeping the spine neutral.

Otherwise, your work out becomes counter-productive. If you want to stretch your lats and improve posture you need to be hyperaware of your plank form even before you lunge.

LEANING TOO FAR FORWARD

For any lunge, staying balanced throughout your motion is important. Leaning too far forward will cause you to lose balance. This will shift your center and you could even completely lose balance and fall.

FAILING TO FLATTEN THE FRONT FOOT

Another common mistake for this lunge is balancing your front foot on the balls and toes of your foot. That is, when bringing one of your feet in between your hands you keep the heel off the floor. Bend the knee to completely flatten the foot on the floor instead.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the runners lunge is a great stretch for your hips, legs and butt that is perfect for a warm up. It’s a deep and simple pose for that helps release tension in muscles like the hamstring. If you haven’t tried the runners lunge, then you’re clearly missing out on this fantastic exercise.