To start building and strengthening the hip and thigh muscles, primarily the quadriceps and glutes. To a lesser degree hamstrings will help stabilize the knee and hips, and the low back will work to maintain the spine in neutral throughout the duration of the set. L1 Lunges are intended for people new to exercise, and don’t yet have the strength to safely go all the way down and return from that position. Or perhaps have a knee, hip, or back injury precluding full range. Balance, particularly side to side balance is enhanced for some with L1-Lunges.
Functional Purpose, or Why the Anatomy Matters
Step forward as far as feels comfortable, bending both knees only so as far as you can without pain and with confidence you can still return back up to the start position. After hitting your fullest depth, forcefully press up and back to the start position, switching legs and doing the same. Continue until fatigued or for 2 minutes, whichever comes first.
- Right leg, followed by left leg counts as two reps.
- How low you go is variable. The lower you go the more difficult it will be, so you can gradually work lower over time in a given set as well as every third day.
- If you can do 70 reps in two minutes at a given depth with good control, progress next time to a lower depth.
- Once you are able to touch your knee to the floor for 25 or more reps you are ready to progress to Level-2 Lunges.
- If balance is a problem, having a sturdy chair or table nearby to hold on to, or be there just in case, is good. Having something sturdy on both sides is OK also, and hopefully you won’t need it for long.
- Knee pain can be due to an over-dominance of quadriceps muscles during lunges, or can result from allowing the knee to track medially (inwards) as opposed to straight or slightly outwards over the toes.
- The L2 and L3-LoBrids will strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, thus better balancing forces over the knee. All levels of SideOuts will strengthen the hip abductors, thus helping with knee tracking over the toes.
- Having your timer at or near eye level and keeping your eyes on the timer during the set will help you keep the head up, chest high and spine more neutral.
- Filming and reviewing your form with a smartphone (side view) is one of the best ways to self-check your technique for faults and compare it with the instructional videos.
- The knee tracking inwards is a fault. Make sure your front knee is tracking over your toes and not collapsing inwards across your body. Awareness of this is usually enough to fix it, but SideOuts will further strengthen the muscles.
- Spine flexion (back rounding) also happens as the glutes and spinal erectors fatigue, or if you allow yourself to look downwards. Fight this, and discontinue the set if it progresses too far.
- Not making yourself progress in reps and depth is the most frequent, and generally the most serious fault.