To improve lower body strength, power, and stability, it’s hard to beat the lunge. If you really want to crank up the intensity, there’s no better choice than the running lunge.
“Adding a single-leg vertical jump to the reverse lunge makes the classic strength exercise more challenging,” says Trevor Thieme, Beachbody Fitness and Nutrition Content Director, CSCS. “A running lunge also gives the exercise a plyometric element that can help build explosive power.”
This type of lunge helps strengthen key muscles like the glutes and quadriceps while improving balance on one leg. They can also benefit from unilateral strength and power, which can improve overall running performance.
Running lunges are a great move for any workout mix. Here’s how to do them safely and effectively.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, step back with your right leg into a reverse lunge. Your left thigh should be parallel to the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, and right knee an inch or two above the floor.
- Simultaneously with the reverse lunge, bend your arms at the elbows, raising your right arm in front of you and your left arm behind you in a runner’s pose. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your back straight, shoulders back and core engaged, cross the ball of your left foot to jump straight up, lifting your right knee to at least hip height and pumping your left arm forward and your right arm back.
- Land softly on your left foot, immediately returning to the starting position to begin your next rep.
- Perform all reps on one side before switching to the other leg, performing equal reps on each.
Running Slot Changes
- If you have a knee injury or want to focus on form, jump out of the way (as pictured on the far right of the animation above), advises Thieme. “Instead of jumping, just get into a high knee position,” he says. “You will still develop power, but without as much impact on your joints, especially your knees.”
- Other modifications may include dropping into a shallower lunge and pausing between each repetition.
Alternatives to running
- If you’re looking to increase the intensity, increase the reps and/or the tempo. You can also bring your knee higher at the top of the movement.
- Intensity can also be increased by adding speed work. For example, do five running lunges to each side, sprint for 15 seconds, then do another set of running lunges.
- Want to add more lunges to your workouts? Try the bow lunge or the forward lunge.