Setup, Cues, and Progressions for the Lunge

The lunge is a fundamental and foundational movement pattern that is often overlooked for the squat in regards to its effectiveness in enhancing strength, size, and power - and yet it is often a better choice due to the less loading placed on the spine and the fact that each leg needs to work individually, and therefore the weaker leg becomes the limiting factor... and in today's article, we're going to cover the setup, cues, and progressions for teaching the lunge to young athletes and adolescents

Lunge - The Youth Academy

We adore the lunge. It's humbling when trying it for the first time with just your bodyweight - which is a testament to its power & the strength it can help you gain. Many young athletes overlook it due to its simplicity, however, and this is where they go wrong

Lunge Setup

  1. Pretend you're standing on train tracks, feet just inside shoulder width
  2. Shoulders back and down/scaps in your back pockets
  3. Take a big step forward (1 1/2 normal step size), keeping on the "train track"
  4. Ensure the toe is pointing straight forward
  5. Track the front knee over the front toe, slowly allowing the back knee to drop to the ground
  6. Keep your chest up
  7. Drive through the front foot's heel, and stand up

Lunge Cues

The main focus points are ensuring the toe is pointing forward, the knee tracks over the toe, and that the chest stays up when dropping down into the lunge position

  1. Toe/Toe Forward
  2. Knee/Knee Over Toe/Align The Knee
  3. Chest Up

Lunge Progressions

  1. Bodyweight Lunge
  2. Dumbbell Lunge w/ DB's at Side
  3. Dumbbell Lunge w/ DB's in Front Rack Position or Using Safety Bar
  4. Bodyweight Step-Up
  5. Bodyweight Step-Up w/ DB's at Side
  6. Bodyweight Step-Up w/ DB's in Front Rack Position or Using Safety Bar
  7. Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat
  8. Bulgarian Split Squat w/ DB's at Side
  9. Bulgarian Split Squat w/ DB's in Front Rack Position or Using Safety Bar
  10. Bodyweight Reverse Lunge
  11. Reverse Lunge w/ DB's at side
  12. Reverse Lunge w/ DB's in Front Rack Position or Using Safety Bar

As you can see, things stay very simple. The key to remember is that regardless of the variation of the movement we are performing, be it the lunge, step up, bulgarian, or reverse, the movement pattern stays the same and the key focus points are still the front foot/toes, the knee, and keeping the chest up

Happy lunging guys! 

Nick Maier